Recent Blog Articles

Barium Enema

February 01, 2019

What Is It?

A barium enema is a procedure used to examine the lining of the colon and rectum. The procedure is also called a lower gastrointestinal series.

Barium refers to barium sulfate, a chalky chemical that appears white on X-ray film. Enema refers to any fluid pumped into the rectum through the anus. After the barium sulfate liquid makes its way to your intestines, a series of X-ray pictures are taken. In these X-rays, the white barium fluid allows some abnormalities in the lining of the intestines to appear dark. Air may be pumped into the intestine during this procedure to help sharpen the outline of the intestinal wall.

To continue reading this article, you must log in.

Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.

  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »

I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.

Sign Me Up

Already a member? Login ».

Disclaimer:

As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.