A barium enema involves filling the large intestine with diluted barium liquid while x-ray images are being taken. Barium enemas are used to diagnose disorders of the large intestine, colon and rectum, such as colonic tumors, polyps, diverticula and unexplained weight loss or anemia.

Barium enemas are used to diagnose disorders of the large intestine, colon and rectum, such as colonic tumors, polyps, diverticula and unexplained weight loss or anemia. Your medical provider may recommend a barium enema to be appropriate in order to detect:

  • benign tumors, such as polyps
  • cancer
  • inflammatory bowel disease also known as ulcerative colitis
  • Hirschsprung disease (a blockage of the large intestine) in children

The procedure is frequently performed to help diagnose symptoms such as:

  • chronic diarrhea
  • blood in stools
  • constipation
  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • unexplained weight loss
  • a change in bowel habits
  • suspected blood loss
  • abdominal pain