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MoonDragon's Health & Wellness Therapy
Medical Enemas

Lower Gastric Series
A Diagnostic Test For Imaging Purposes

For Informational Use Only
For more detailed information contact your health care provider
about options that may be available for your specific situation.

  • Medical Enema Description
  • Barium Enema Instructions
  • Enema-Related Products


    Over time, toxic waste can accumulate in the colon and liver, and then circulate throughout the body via the bloodstream. A clean and healthy colon and liver, then, are essential for the health of all the organs and tissues of the body.

    There are two types of enemas - the retention enema and the cleansing enema. The primary action of the retention enema, which is held in the body for about fifteen minutes, is to help rid the liver of impurities. The cleansing enema, which is retained for only a few minutes, is used to flush out the colon.

    When using any enema, keep in mind that they should never be used if there is rectal bleeding. In such a case, contact your health care provider immediately.

    If you experience tension or spasms in the bowel while using an enema, try using warmer water (99°F to 102°F is a good temperature) to help relax the bowel. If the bowel is weak or flaccid, try using colder water (75°F to 80°F) to help strengthen it.

    After using any enema, be sure to wash and sterilize the tip of the enema bag.

    MoonDragon's Instruction Information: How To Administer A Medical Enema

    Barium enema.


    A barium enema is a diagnostic test. A barium enema is a special enema solution that is used when a picture (a special x-ray) is needed of the large intestine, which includes the colon and rectum, to be performed for diagnostic purposes by your health care provider. It is also called a lower gastric series.

    Barium sulfate is used in an enema solution because it shows up on x-rays and is placed into the rectal area. Since your colon is a soft tissue, it does not show up well on x-rays so it needs this extra help with the use of the barium enema. The liquid is a type of contrast. Contrast can highlight specific areas inside the body, which creates a clearer image.

    The barium enema will be given in a clinical health office or hospital setting. It is not used at home.


    You must completely empty your bowels before the exam. This may be done using an enema or laxatives combined with a clear liquid diet. Your health care provider will give you specific instructions. Thorough cleaning of the large intestine is necessary for accurate pictures.
    • A cleansing enema may be given to clear fecal material in the colon. This may or may not be done at home prior to the clinic visit.
    • A laxative may be given orally to clear fecal material in the colon that may interfere with the procedure and the test interpretation.
    Usually, you will not be allowed to take food or fluid after midnight the night before your procedure. You may be given fluids by IV that contain dextrose (sugar) just prior to the test.


    The barium enema is usually performed at an outpatient x-ray center or in a major hospital. You usually go home the same day. This test may be done in a clinical office or a hospital radiology department.

    When you arrive, the medical staff will check the last time that you had food or fluids. They will also make sure that your bowel has been prepared adequately (by the cleansing enema or laxative or both).

    You lie on the x-ray table and a preliminary x-ray is taken. You will then be told to lie on your side. The health care provider will gently insert a well-lubricated tube (enema) into your rectum. The tube is connected to a bag that contains the barium. The barium flows into your colon.

    A small balloon at the tip of the enema tube may be inflated to help keep the barium inside your colon. The flow of the barium is monitored by the health care provider on an x-ray fluoroscope screen, which is like a TV monitor.

    You will remain awake throughout the barium enema procedure. The contrast material (barium) will be put into the rectum through a plastic tube. When barium enters your colon, you may feel like you need to have a bowel movement. You may also have a feeling of fullness, moderate-to-severe cramping, and general discomfort. Try to take long, deep breaths during the procedure. This may help you relax. Otherwise, pain should be minimal.

    Several x-rays will be taken. The duration of the whole procedure depends on the speed of the barium to fill the necessary areas of interest, the number of images required to properly evaluate the colon, and whether additional barium or images are required.

    There are two types of barium enemas:
    • Single contrast barium enema uses barium to highlight your large intestine.
    • Double contrast barium enema uses the barium, but also delivers air into the colon to expand it. This allows for even better images.

    You are asked to move into different positions and the table is slightly tipped to get different views. At certain times when the x-ray pictures are taken, you hold your breath and are still for a few seconds so the images won't be blurry.

    The enema tube is removed after the pictures are taken. You will be given a bedpan or helped to the toilet, so you can empty your bowel and remove as much of the barium as possible. One or two x-rays may be taken after you use the bathroom.

    Most people have a short recovery time and go home after the procedure.

    The images are read by a qualified radiologist who communicates the findings to your health care provider who may opt to see the images too. Your health care provider usually calls you within a week with the results.

    If there are any abnormal results such as irregularities in the contour of the colon suggesting abnormal masses, your health care provider will discuss additional diagnostic and management plans, which may include biopsy or surgery.

    After you leave the hospital or surgical center, expect your next bowel movement to contain the contrast material.

    You should watch for abdominal pain, cramping, or vomiting. Call your health care provider or seek medical attention at the nearest medical facility if you have severe symptoms.


    Call your health care provider if you have any of these problems:
    • Moderate to severe abdominal pain.
    • Moderate to severe abdominal bloating.
    • Constipation.
    • Severe diarrhea.
    • Inability to take food or fluids.

    If you pass dark material or have fresh bleeding in your stools, go to a hospital's emergency department. In addition, any severe abdominal pain, bloating, or cramping needs evaluation in a hospital.


    It is used when health care providers suspect problems with your colon, such as colon cancer, and they need to take a picture of the inner walls of the colon. The barium enema sticks to the inner walls of the colon and will show any irregularities that might suggest malignant growths and tumors, blockages, etc. The barium enema may also be used to diagnose and evaluate the extent of inflammatory bowel diseases.

    By filling the contours of the entire cavity of the colon, the health care provider can see the contour of the colon's lining. Polyps, diverticula (out-pocketings), ulcers, fistula (openings), crypts (certain types of cavities), and inflammatory changes can be detected. Masses (such as tumors) are specifically of interest because this test is often used to screen for colon cancer.

    Primarily, the barium enema is used to exclude diseases of the colon such as colorectal cancer. Over the years, barium enema has been used to evaluate a wide range of other conditions.

    A barium enema is used in some cases to treat a condition. The pressure exerted when the barium is put into the colon often results in resolving an intussusception (a telescoping effect in which the colon fold in on itself) - a condition seen in infants.


    Normal Results: Barium should fill the colon evenly, showing normal bowel shape and position and no blockages.

    Colored barium enema X ray of a human abdomen showing cancer of the ascending colon. The tumor appears over the right pelvic bone (left on image).
    Colored barium enema X ray of a human abdomen showing cancer of the ascending colon. The tumor appears over the right pelvic bone (left on image).

    Abnormal Results: Abnormal findings may be a sign of:
    • Acute appendicitis
    • Cancer
    • Colorectal polyps
    • Colorectal adenoma (harmless tumors)
    • Diverticulitis
    • Colonic diverticula (pouches or sacs in the colon)
    • Irritable colon
    • Twisted loop of the bowel
    • Ulcerative colitis

    Additional conditions under which the test may be performed:
    • Diarrhea
    • Lower gastric bleeding
    • Annular pancreas
    • CMV gastroenteritis / colitis
    • Crohn's disease
    • Hirschsprung's disease
    • Intestinal obstruction
    • Intussusception
    • Pyloric stenosis


    There is low radiation exposure. X-rays are monitored and regulated to provide the smallest amount of radiation exposure needed to produce the image. Most experts feel that the risk is low compared with the benefits. Pregnant women and children are more sensitive to the risks of the x-ray.

    A more serious risk is a perforated colon. During the barium enema procedure, the contrast material may spill into the abdominal cavity. The lining of the abdominal cavity may become infected (the condition is called chemical peritonitis). The colon may narrow and become blocked. Because of these possible problems, certain people may not be good candidates for this procedure.

    The bowel is prepared before the procedure. Anyone undergoing a barium enema must be monitored during the bowel procedure.

    Perforation rates among the different types of enemas are probably due more to perforations that occurred prior to the enema, and the pressure exerted within the colon, rather than from the contrast material used.

    If a person has an allergy to the contrast material, they would not be a good candidate for this procedure. Discuss options with your health care provider.

    Colonoscopy is another way to diagnose and monitor diseases in the colon. Discuss diagnostic procedure options along with pros and cons to these procedures with your health care provider before making choice decisions.


    MedLinePlus: Interactive Tutorials - Barium Enema
    Mayo Clinic: Barium Enema Video
    Enema - Information About Enemas
    MoonDragon's Health & Wellness Therapy: Enemas


    Do not use petroleum jelly to lubricate the tip of the enema bag. Instead, use Vitamin E Oil (buy it in oil form or pierce the end of a vitamin E capsule and squeeze the liquid onto the tip). The liquid will both ease the insertion and have a healing effect on the anus and the lining of the colon, if these areas are inflamed. Aloe Vera may also be used for this purpose.

    knee-chest position
    Knee-Chest Position

    The best position to assume when receiving the enema is "head down and rear up". After the liquid has been inserted, roll onto your back, and finally roll over and lie on your left side. As you are doing this, massage your colon to help loosen any fecal matter. Start on your right side and gradually move your fingers up toward the bottom of the rib cage, then across your abdomen and down the left side.

    child's position
    Child's Position

    For a child, place the child on his or her left side. Be very gentle inserting the tip and never force it inside the anus. This could damage the colon and could be very dangerous. Do not give an enema to a child under 2 years of age.

    Note: that 2 quarts is a lot of liquid. If you experience any pain during insertion, stop the flow of the enema bag and remaining in the same position, take deep breaths until the pain subsides. The resume the enema flow. If you expel the liquid before all of it has been inserted, simply begin the process over again. If pain persists, discontinue the enema procedure.

    Hold the solution in your body for 3 to 4 minutes before allowing the fluid to be expelled. After 2 or 3 such sessions, you will find it easier to insert and hold the liquid. Hold the solution as long as you can before expelling.

    Note: Always check with your health care provider before doing an enema.


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  • Note: Always check with your health care provider before doing an enema.


  • Aloe Vera Herbal Products
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