What is a Barium Enema?

What is a Barium Enema?

A barium enema is a special enema solution that is used to take a picture of the inside of your colon. Barium sulfate is used in an enema solution because it shows up on x-rays (your colon, which is soft tissue does not show up well on x-rays).

If doctors suspect something wrong with your colon (such as colon cancer) they will take a picture of the inner walls of your colon by giving you a barium enema, then taking an x-ray. What they will get is a picture of the barium that has stuck to the inner walls of your colon. They can then analyze this picture for irregularities that might suggest malignant growths (such as tumors, etc.).

It's a neat trick for the medical world to use when diagnosing colon problems. For the rest of us though, barium enemas don't really do anything (unless you tinker with x-ray machines).


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