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).