(Barium X-ray; Lower GI Series)
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Reasons for Test
What to Expect
Prior to Test
- Eat a clear liquid diet.
- Take laxatives.
- Use a warm water or over-the-counter enema.
- Do not eat or drink anything after midnight.
Description of Test
- Will be shown to the bathroom to pass the barium and may be given a laxative
- May feel mild-to-moderate abdominal cramping and may need to wait before driving home
- Can return to your regular diet unless your doctor tells you not to
- Can return to regular activities when you feel ready
- Should drink lots of fluids—barium can cause dehydration
- May have white or gray stools for 2-3 days after the test due to the barium
How Long Will It Take?
Will It Hurt?
- Follow-up testing
- Treatment options
Call Your Doctor
- Severe pain
- Inability to pass gas or have a bowel movement for two or more days after the exam
- Abdominal bloating
- Bloody stools
American Society of Radiologic Technologists http://www.asrt.org
Radiology Info—Radiological Society of North America http://www.radiologyinfo.org
Canadian Association of Radiologists http://www.car.ca
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Barium enema. McKinley Health Center, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign website. Available at: http://www.mckinley.uiuc.edu/handouts/barium%5Fenema.html. Updated June 14, 2011. Accessed September 3, 2014.
Lower gastrointestinal (GI) tract x-ray (radiography). Radiological Society of North America Radiology Info website. Available at: http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=lowergi. Updated March 7, 2013. Accessed September 3, 2014.
Lower GI series. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/diagnostic-tests/lower-gi-series/Pages/diagnostic-test.aspx. Updated May 7, 2014. Accessed September 3, 2014.
- Reviewer: Daus Mahnke, MD
- Review Date: 08/2015 -
- Update Date: 09/03/2014 -