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 Scheduled for Barium Enema
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Advanced Member

57 Posts

Posted - 07/10/2006 :  15:32:30  Show Profile
I'm still having recurring abdominal pain. Saw my GI doctor again this morning and will be going in Thursday morning for a barium enema. I asked for a colonoscopy, which is also what the doctor wanted. The HMO wants to do some type of case review first. My doctor is furious at the insurance company but says if there's inflammation, as my symptoms indicate, it will show up in the test results. She's fairly confident that's what it is, and it's treatable.

I'm nervous and a little scared, and I know I'll be embarrassed. I've had Fleet enemas from nurses in the hospital, but never anything like this. From what I read on other sides, the bag of barium is huge. Doctor said they would give me something to calm me down, but I would be awake during the procedure, unlike having a colonoscopy. My doctor's nurse has had this test at age 35 (I'm 42) and it wasn't as bad as she feared, but was uncomfortable.

Prep begins Tuesday afternoon with a light diet. I also have to pick up a prep kit at the pharmacy. I'm not looking forward to this. I just want to get it over with and find out what's wrong with me.

Has anyone who reads this been through a barium enema? Any "hints" on making it easier, if that's possible? Thanks so much!

Advanced Member

69 Posts

Posted - 07/10/2006 :  16:51:20  Show Profile
I've been through one, and these days they don't use near the same volume as they used to, so the enema won't be a "gut buster". They use air to inflate the colon, rather than fill it with the heavy barium solution.

The prep can be awful, however. Stay close to the toilet and try not to faint <g>
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Advanced Member

320 Posts

Posted - 07/10/2006 :  16:57:09  Show Profile
Unfortunately, I have not had one of these, but I wish you luck, Victoria! I will be thinking about you this week, and will pray that they find out what is going on, no matter what procedure they use. I hope things turn out better than you fear, as they did with the nurse, and that things get settled down quickly after this. It would be hard to do one of these for the first time, and I wish all the best for you. Hang in there, and take it slow. That's all I can say. Good luck, and keep your chin up! We care here, and will pull for you. I hope it is only inflammation, and that they can clear it up quickly. Take care!!!

Something else I just thought of. coffee_user has a point, but I found with my colonoscopy prep, that if I used Pep-O-Mint LIfeSavers, I had an easier time of it than if I simply took it straight. So see if you can do that, and if so, I recommend that you get a big bag of them, and get the large ones!! They really helped me. *THEY* tasted good, and covered the taste of the prep nicely. I took one before each dose once I had picked them up, and it worked very well.

Edited by - maqtoH on 07/10/2006 17:01:25
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408 Posts

Posted - 07/10/2006 :  17:31:22  Show Profile
Dear Victoria,

Yikes. You sure are going through a lot. First of all, I want to let you know that I have worked with thousands of people with similar symptoms as you who have found excellent results within 35 days by following the program laid out in my book, Kristina Amelong's Ten Days to Optimal Health: A Guide to Nutritional Therapy and Colon Cleansing,

Also, please read through this scientific article which can be found at

Patients prefer enemas to laxatives for bowel preparation

"People being screened by flexible sigmoidoscopy must have adequate bowel preparation, but facilities in endoscopy units are insufficient to cope with the large numbers of people seen in a screening programme. Atkin et al conducted a randomised trial of self administered enema and oral laxative to determine which is the most acceptable (p 1504). They found that compliance with the enema was higher than for the oral laxative (84% v 78%). In addition, the enema produced fewer side effects and better bowel preparation, although there was no difference between the two groups in detection of polyps."

I recommend that you consider preparing your colon using a therapeutic enema series, instead of the polyethylene glycol (pol-ee-ETH-i-leen GLYE-col) (PEG) that is used to clean the colon before a barium enema and colonoscopy, as I am certain that your body will have much less ill effect from the procedure. The PEG-electrolyte solution acts like a harsh laxative. It causes hours of liquid stools. In this way, it flushes all solid material from the colon, so the doctor can have a clear view of the colon, which can also be accomplished by the gentle action of an enema series. Most people find this product to cause them severe diarrhea and excessive pain. Additionally, I recommend that one use a normal dosage of cascara sagrada,
for a few days to a week before the procedure.

(Can those of you who have gone through the process of using polyethylene glycol to prepare your colon for a medical test report on your experiences? Polyethylene glycol is used under many brand names such as
Colyte with Flavor Packs
NuLYTELY, Cherry Flavor

Additionally, after the barium enema, you will want to take a therapeutic enema series for 3-5 days in a row to clear out the barium from your colon.

Do keep us posted.

In good health,
Kristina Amelong, CNC,CT
Optimal Health Network
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Billy The Kid
Advanced Member

181 Posts

Posted - 07/10/2006 :  18:19:28  Show Profile
I have had 3 Barium Enemas many years ago and several years apart.
In 1969, 1975 and again in 1986 I went through the Procedure and
prepared with multiple Enemas until the Return was clear. I did not
have any problems at all and the Procedure was a piece of cake and it
will be for you too if you make sure your Colon is "squeeky clean"
The most important part of a Barium Enema is the Preparation. If
the Colon is not thoroughly cleaned out the Procedure is a worthless
waste of time, energy and some discomfort not to mention money and
will more than likely have to be repeated.
Lots and lots of full Enemas the night before and the morning of
the Procedure should do the trick.
Good Luck,
Billy the Kid
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Advanced Member

320 Posts

Posted - 07/10/2006 :  19:13:02  Show Profile
For my colonoscopy last month, I used the Nulytely solution, and it was not so bad at first, did not give me too many problems afterward, and was easily used. However, I think I would prefer to use enemas next time, nonetheless, as I enjoy them far more than any laxative solution on the market. And, in fact, I think I will ask the nurse when she calls me tabout my surgery, if I can use enemas instead of the solution they want me to use for the prep for that procedure, as well. I like that idea, though they might not let me. I will see what she says, and go from there. But Nulytely treated me fairly well, though the taste was difficult twoard the end. that's why I used the LifeSavers, and they made the difference. But I must discover, nonetheless, if they will allow me to use enemas. I will let you know what they say.
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Advanced Member

422 Posts

Posted - 07/11/2006 :  04:54:59  Show Profile
I've managed to avoid the barium enema, thankfully, but an aunt got one several years ago and, as Kristina advised here, needed to take several cleansing enemas afterward before the barium hardened in the intestines. (Her enemas must have worked well, judging from the one she gave me as a kid, LOL).
My prep for two sigmoidoscopies was an enema. For my colonoscopy it was 3 quarts of Colyte (I couldn't choke th last quart down) plus a colonic the day before just to be sure. I was only lightly sedated so could see on the TV monitor that I was squeeky clean all the way up.

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Advanced Member

126 Posts

Posted - 07/11/2006 :  05:45:33  Show Profile
Hello Victoria & others :

I am also a Radiologic Techologist of 21 years. First let me say, I have gone through Barium Enemas to diagnos some problems I have also which is IBS.

This ___
GoLYTELY you will a have better time drinking cold, but!!!!!!!!! You will drink about a galon of it in several hours YUCK!! You will be making alot of trips back and forth etc. I have found that several warm therapuetic cleansing enemas will be fine. I and others I am sure can get as clean, and do as good. Besides in my opion enemas are alot easier to take than drinking those chemicals.

Now about the BE

Ask the Doctor who is known as an Radiologist to go slow during your filling, most will listen to you, ask for a good Technologist who is fast and accurate. Reasons a slower filling is less cramping as most of us know, second the tech who is good, can take several pictures with minimal to no mistakes or repeats.

What to expect___The bags hold 2,000 cc of barium, if it's a Single Column Barium Enema, this mean no Air Contrast, you will recieve only the Barium, no air, the quanity of Barium used is only enough to fill the entire colon, NOT Bulging full, but only fills to the Illeo Cecal Valve or near the appendix.

Ask the tech for warm solution this will avoid cramps also. You will have a Pink type Ballon nozzle used, kinda like the blue one Kristina has on her site with a pillow like insuflator or attachment to fill the ballon tip at the end of the nozzle, this will allow you to hold the Tip or Nozzle in the rectum without having it slide out.

Now if it's a Double Contrast Barium Enema________Same Tip used, but less Barium abot 800cc / to maybe 1000 depends on the Dr's preference. But___You will be filled slowly he will the Squeeze a Ballmometer which will inject 25 CC of air each time he squeezes this. He will only distend the Bowel enough to see the colonic walls expand. He will then release some of the air from you. Then take some floroscopy pictures, about 6 / 10 which go quickly. At that point he may or may not squeeze the Ballmometer 2-3 times. At that point he will instruct the tech take over heads or hard copy pictures. Now Victoria, and others, with the advent of Digital Floroscopy etc, alot of the time he takes what he wants and only has the tech take one or 2 pics/ But if he decides on the full series here is what they are.

PA meaning prone AP = Supine Lt & Rt Obligues Butter Fly or Scuzzo which is an angled 45 degree angled film of the sigmoid region. If pics are good, A GOOD TECH will lay bag on floor, and unclamp the hose so the Barium drains out of you into the Bag, this allows for a easier dismount from the that point they will remove the Tip or Nozzle, and you will evacuate remaining Barium. Then the tech will do a Post Evac film, and your done.

NOW NOTE___________Some tech will tell you, Drink alot of Water!!!
This will allow the body to help hydrate. Barium is an enert salt, it will and can constipate you. So I can't tell my patients go home and take an enema, this would be prescribeing, but I can tell you, take a warm saline enema no soap, rinse out the remaining Barium, drink alot of fruit juices.

As far as being embarrassed ___All Techs protect your modesty at least I do completely. Even though I am a Male Tech, I am careful, gentle, and believe in protecting a persons modesty. I raise only the gown high enough to insert the nozzle, then the gown is down, when you roll around for the various views, I keep my hand on the gown so it will not expose you. When I remove the nozzle, there is no need to see what your doing, I gently and easy reach the hose clamp it, and gently pull out the tube. So recap___2000 cc for Single Column / 800 to maybe 1000 for Air Contrast. Drink alot of water / fruit juices and take 1 to 2 warm saline enemas, and relax.

You will do fine...I hope I didn't make to many mistakes, I worked 12.5 hours last night, be well and stay healthy :)

Edited by - mikecmt on 07/11/2006 05:49:35
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Advanced Member

57 Posts

Posted - 07/14/2006 :  10:57:41  Show Profile
First of all, a major THANK YOU to everyone who responded to my post! You are all wonderful!

I had my barium enema yesterday and will likely receive the results from my doctor by Monday. She's out of the office today.

It wasn't as bad as I feared, although the air injection made me very uncomfortable for a while. The amount of barium wasn't as large as I feared, although it was quite a lot. The tech who remained with me in the exam room during the enema was very kind and gentle. She must have used a lot of lubricant because the insertions were a breeze. She constantly asked me how I was doing. Although fairly young--I'd guess in her early 30s--she said she had given several hundred of these enemas. Imagine, doing this all day!?!

The prep was tiring. I did follow my doctor's recommendations (Kristina wouldn't be happy with me), tablets and liquid, followed by warm water enema (bottled water) an hour before I left for the hospital. As it turned out, I don't think I really needed the enema. I had eaten light for several days before and there was no more to come out. Despite using Vaseline and Desatin on my bottom, I was raw. The tech said that was normal. Ithink she also used a salve with a local anesthetic as part of the lubrication.

Lowering the bag and draining some of the barium was a relief, but being able to "explode" most of that trapped air inside me was a blessing!! They let me close the bathroom door to avoid total embarrassment (LOL).

Although I was given two laxative tablets to take when I got home, the tech took me aside and advised me take two saline enemas an hour apart, and get them as high as possible and hold for 5 to 10 minutes. She said if I'm prone to constipation, which I am, the enemas would be best.

I was sooooo hungry afterwards. We stopped for lunch, but I couldn't eat a lot except a chicken sandwich and applesauce. I was getting a little woozy and didn't want to take a chance on getting sick. It wasn't easy taking more enemas at home. I was exhausted and asked my husband to help, which he did, by helping me take them while I lay on our bed. I'm glad I did, though. A lot more barium came out.

After the second enema I was out of it. I put a panty liner in my pajama bottom, as the tech suggested that I do, and flopped into bed. I slept for 9 hours!!

After I hear from the doctor, I'll update you on the results. THANKS SO MUCH AGAIN!!

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29 Posts

Posted - 07/14/2006 :  13:09:29  Show Profile
Glad to hear your procedure was comfortable and done with care. I hope the results when you get them on Monday are 100% perfect.
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Advanced Member

320 Posts

Posted - 07/15/2006 :  18:17:15  Show Profile
Ditto on what Michael said, Victoria!! I am glad you had a reasonably good experience, and that things went well for you. I am also glad I could help, as I know that something like this can be nervous-making to the max. And speaking of helping. . .

I had a chance to talk to two women yesterday, when I went to the hospital to get a copy of my CT scan results. One of them was going in for a similar procedure as I had, and the other had not yet had a colonoscopy. I was able to talk to her, and she sadi that she would pray for me, and consider getting her own colonoscopy. I am hopeful that she does so. It is easy for me to talk about some of this, and much more easily done to talk about enemas now than it was before. I enjoy them, and can tell people that they are worth doing. I can also tell them about my experiences, and that works in their favor, believe me. I enjoy helping people, and hope I can help you, Victoria, should you ever need it again. And I will be most interested in your results Monday. I am glad they will be in before I go to the hospital!!!
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