What you need to know about:

Barium Enema

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Recovery Period:
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Overview of

Barium Enema

in Thailand

A Barium Enema is a radiological examination that is used to check the abnormalities of the large intestine. In this procedure, the examination involves the injection of a Barium mixture and air into the rectum through a small tube. An x-ray is taken afterwards to observe for any abnormalities.

Goals of

Barium Enema

A barium enema is recommended by a doctor to determine the cause of certain signs and symptoms that may include: Abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, changes in bowel habits, unexplained weight loss, chronic diarrhea and persistent constipation.  It can help detect conditions such as Polyps [abnormal growths in the Gastrointestinal mucosa] as part of colorectal cancer screening. It can also help detect and diagnose inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.

Price of

Barium Enema

Average Cost

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Pros and cons of

Barium Enema

Pros

-Air and barium are injected into the rectum. This procedure is less invasive compared to coloscopies. Barium enemas can still detect the presence of polyps or tumours

Cons

- Results are not as accurate as colonoscopies.

How it works:

Barium Enema

This procedure typically lasts between 30-60 minutes. During your barium enema, you'll wear a gown and be asked to remove eyewear, jewelry or removable dental devices. The exam will be performed by a radiology technician and a physician who specializes in diagnostic imaging (radiologist).

The General procedure will be as follows:  1. You will be asked to lie on your side on a specially designed table. An X-ray will be taken to make sure your colon is clean. A lubricated enema tube will be inserted into your rectum. A barium bag will be connected to the tube to deliver the barium solution into your colon.  2. If you're having an air-contrast (double-contrast) barium enema, air will flow through the same tube and into your rectum.  3. The tube that's used to deliver the barium has a small balloon near its tip. When positioned at the entrance of your rectum, the balloon helps keep the barium inside your body. As your colon fills with barium, you may feel the urge to have a bowel movement. Abdominal cramping may occur.  4. You may be asked to turn and hold various positions on the exam table. This helps ensure that your entire colon is coated with barium and enables the radiologist to view the colon from various angles. You also may be asked to hold your breath at times.  5.The radiologist may press firmly on your abdomen and pelvis, manipulating your colon for better viewing on a monitor attached to the X-ray machine. A number of X-rays will likely be taken of your colon from various angles.

Preparation before

Barium Enema

Pre - treatment

A barium enema will require you to empty your colon beforehand to prevent any residue from obscuring X-ray images. These are the usual procedures that patients follow before their upcoming enema:  1. Follow a special diet the day before the exam - This includes not eating anything and only drink liquids such as water, drinks without milk and clear beverages.   2. Fast after midnight  3. Take a laxative the night before the exam - To help empty your colon  4. Use an enema kit - Either the night before the exam or a few hours before the exam.  You will also need to discuss with the doctor about the medications that you are currently taking to determine whether any special changes will need to be made

Recovery after

Barium Enema

Post - treatment

After the exam, most of the barium will be removed from your colon through the enema tube. When the tube is removed, you'll be able to use the toilet to expel additional barium and air. Any abdominal cramping usually ends quickly, and you should be able to return to your usual diet and activities right away.  You may have white stools for a few days as your body naturally removes any remaining barium from your colon.   Since barium may cause constipation, drinking extra fluids in the days following your exam will help reduce constipation. Your doctor may recommend a laxative, if needed.  Please check with your doctor if you are unable to have bowel movement or pass gas more than two days after the exam or if your stool does not return to its normal color within a few days.

Risks & side effects

Rarely, complications of a barium enema exam may include:  1. Inflammation in tissues surrounding the colon 2. Obstruction in the gastrointestinal tract 3. Tear in the colon wall 4. Allergic reaction to barium  It is important to note that Barium enema exams generally are not performed during pregnancy because X-rays present a risk to the developing fetus.

FAQs:

Barium Enema

What conditions can be diagnosed by barium enemas?

Barium enemas can help diagnose and evaluate the extent of inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. Polyps can be also be seen, but cannot be removed if deemed cancerous. Other problems such as diverticulosis (small pouches formed on the colon wall that can become inflamed) and intussusception can be found (and in certain cases the test itself can treat intussusception).

How do Barium Enemas help with diagnosis?

Barium is a dry, white, chalky, powder that is mixed with water to make barium liquid. Barium is an X-ray absorber and appears white on X-ray film. When instilled via the rectum, barium coats the inside wall of the large intestine. This allows for visualization of the inner wall lining, as well as the size, shape, contour, and patency of the colon. This process shows differences that might not be seen on standard X-rays. Barium is used only for diagnostic studies of the GI tract.  The use of barium with standard X-rays contributes to the visibility of various characteristics of the large intestine. Some abnormalities of the large intestine that may be detected by a barium enema include tumors, inflammation, polyps (growths), diverticula (pouches), obstructions, and changes in the intestinal structure.

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