Diagnostics & Testing

Patient Instructions For Flouroscopic Barium Enema Study


  • Bowel preparation - please see below Barium Enema Preparation Diet Sheet*.
  • If you are taking Metformin (Glucophage) tablets for diabetes, please inform your physician and/or technologist. He or she may request that you stop taking these tablets for two days after the test.
  • If you are taking any other medications, you should continue taking all your other medications except iron tablets, which should be stopped seven days before your Barium Enema Study.
  • Please inform your physician and/or technologist when you arrive for your test if you have any of the following: 
    - Allergies.
    - Please inform your physician and/or technologist if you have any questions and/or concerns about undergoing this test and they shall be able to answer any questions and/or concerns.


What will happen to me during the test?

  • Your physician and/or technologist will explain the test to you. You will then be asked to fill your consent form to proceed. Please inform your physician and/or technologist if you have had any problems with your bowel preparation.
  • The test usually takes about 20-30 minutes.
  • You will have a small tube, called a cannula, inserted into one of the veins in your arm.
  • You will be asked to lie down on the scanner table on your left side.
  • A muscle relaxant will normally be injected to avoid bowel spasm.
  • The nurse will then pass a small flexible tube into your rectum.
  • Gas (Carbon Dioxide) will be gently introduced into your bowel through the tube in your rectum.
  • Despite the muscle relaxant, you may still feel some bloating and discomfort in your abdomen.
  • During this process, Fluoroscopic Imaging of the bowel is performed in different projections.
  • The tube will then be removed and the procedure is completed.

Are there after-test restrictions for me to follow?

  • Fluoroscopic Barium Enema is generally considered a very safe test. Problems can occur, but they are rare. Problems which might occur are similar to those which can happen with other methods of examining the large bowel, these might include the following:
    • Abdominal discomfort.
    • Although the Carbon Dioxide used to inflate your bowel is absorbed quickly following the procedure, some minor abdominal discomfort may remain for one to two hours. Returning to your normal diet and moving around will help to ease any remaining discomfort.
      Regular analgesics such as Paracetamol may be taken if you wish. To relax the muscles of the bowel wall, you may have been given Buscopan injection which can cause blurring of your vision.
      This is short lived and lasts for about 30 minutes. If you do experience this blurring please make sure your vision has returned to normal before driving.
    • “Faint-like” reactions.
    • Damage to the bowel wall (there may be a small tear in the lining of the colon or rectum; this is very rare and happens in less than one in 3000 tests).
  • At the end of your test you will be allowed to get dressed and go home. You can now return to your normal eating and drinking pattern. We recommend that you drink plenty of fluids for the following two to three days.
  • If you experience severe abdominal pain or generally feel unwell in the days following the test, please seek urgent medical advice from your physician or at the Emergency Department.

How will I know the results of my test?

Your test results will be sent to the physician who ordered the test. During your follow-up appointment, your physician will discuss your test results with you.

© Copyright 2023 Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. All rights reserved.

This information is provided by Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, part of the M42 group, and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition.

We’re here to make managing your healthcare easier.

800 8 2223 Request an Appointment

Our Doctors

Meet all the doctors from Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi.

View Doctors

Patient Stories

Listen to the inspiring stories from our patients.

Learn More

Insurance Partners

We partner with many insurance companies offering coverage for your care.

Explore More