Having a barium enema

When you arrive at hospital, you'll be asked to change into a hospital gown.

You can take someone with you to the hospital, but they're not usually allowed into theX-ray room.

During the test:

  • you'll be asked to lie on your side on an X-ray table, and an injection of a medication called Buscopan may be given to prevent involuntary bowel movements
  • a small, soft tube will be gently inserted a few centimetres into your bottom, where itwill remain throughout the test
  • thebarium is passed through the tube and into yourbowel try to keep the muscles in your bottom tight to prevent it coming back out, but don't worry if some leaks out
  • you may be asked to move around a bit to help the barium spread along your bowel, and airmay bepumped into your bowel to expand it and help push the barium around
  • several X-rays will be taken with you in different positions

The whole process usually takes around 20-30 minutes.

Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 21 Dec 2018