A barium enema is a fluoroscopic exam that helps physicians evaluate and diagnose problems within the large bowel or colon. The patient is often quite nervous before the exam, but if the procedure is done properly, barium enemas should not be something to stress about.
Barium enemas are used to help diagnose and find cancers of the colon, various inflammatory conditions such as diverticulitis, and for discovering polyps. A colonoscopy is an alternative for a barium enema and is considered to be a more accurate test. However, a colonoscopy is more expensive than a barium enema.
Patient preparation is very important for this exam. The day before the exam you will be asked not to eat, and to only drink clear liquids like juice, tea, black coffee, cola, or broth and to avoid dairy products. After midnight you should take