A barium enema allows the radiologist to view the large bowel (colon) and diagnose bowel problems.

Booking your Procedure

You will be asked to fax or email your referral when making a booking. A radiologist will review your referral and make sure this is the best test for you. If we consider an alternate test is necessary, we will confirm this with your Doctor.

These procedures are performed at the following Jones Radiology locations:


You will lie on an x-ray table for the first abdominal x-ray. The x-ray will be used to make sure the bowel preparation has cleared the bowel.

A short, flexible, lubricated tube will be inserted into your rectum. Some tape will be placed on the skin to secure the tube in place. Sometimes a small balloon may be inflated to prevent the tube from falling out.

Barium liquid is passed through the tube and into the bowel. This may give you some urgency to use your bowel, which you must resist. Once the bowel has been adequately filled, it is partly drained out. A small amount of air is then introduced to the bowel using the same tube. You will be asked to move on the table into a variety of positions while x-rays are taken. The radiologist will make sure that your bowel is well coated with the mixture. The air will make you will feel pressure; like you need to use your bowels again, but it is important to try to hold the liquid and air inside. There may be some discomfort during the procedure, like a belly ache. As soon as the x-rays have been taken, the air will be released in a controlled way. The tube will be removed, and you will be able to go to the toilet. A bowel motion in the toilet will provide some immediate relief.

Before your Scan

You will need to collect a bowel preparation kit from one of our clinics. This kit requires you to follow a special diet the day before your booking and consume a laxative drink to clear your bowel before the procedure. You must follow the instructions precisely. If you find the preparation instructions unclear, or if you have had previous problems with a similar procedure, please contact us. If you are a diabetic, contact us before your appointment. Please take any normal medication with a sip of water during the preparation period.


45 – 60 minutes.

Other Information

Despite the fact that you have been to the toilet after the examination, there may still be a lot of fluid and air remaining in the bowel. For this reason, we recommend you stay near a toilet for 4 – 6 hour after the procedure. It is best to go to the toilet even if you think it is only wind. Some people feel some cramping discomfort for a short time.

The barium may lead to constipation. We suggest you drink more water or other healthy fluids than normal for two days after your examination.

If you have questions or concerns, please speak to the staff.

Are you ready to make your X-Ray appointment?

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