Barium Enema

Learn More About Barium Enema

A barium enema is a diagnostic X-ray examination of the colon (the large intestine) to check for colon cancer, polyps, diverticula or other abnormalities.

For more information on this and other radiology procedures, please visit

How Should I Prepare?

Your doctor will inform you of the important preparation necessary for this exam. You can also call Radiology Associates, and a registered nurse will advise you of the proper steps toward a successful exam.

Two days before the exam:

Have a low residue diet for all meals. (Do not eat raw fruits and vegetables, whole wheat bread, cereal, pork, beef, veal, fried or fatty foods, dairy products, rich desserts and nuts.) Take 2 Dulcolax tablets with water at 10:00 PM.


You may eat your normal breakfast. After breakfast, you may have only clear liquids, NO SOLID FOODS, for the rest of the day. Clear liquids consist of Tea, Water, Black Coffee (no milk or creamer), Broth, Bouillon, Jell-O and Juices such as Apple, Cranberry and White Grape Juice. These liquids will also play an important role in cleansing and flushing out your GI system. You may continue to have only clear liquids until Midnight the day before the exam.

** At 4:00pm, you will drink the entire bottle of Castor Oil (2 oz bottle).
** At 8:00pm, you will drink the entire bottle of Magnesium Citrate (green 8oz bottle).



Nothing to eat or drink until after the exam is complete. You may take morning medications with the least amount of water needed.
At least 2-3 hours prior to leaving for the appointment time, you will need to do a cleansing enema (this is the clear bag in the prep kit). The instructions are included with the enema bag – you do not have to use the soap suds in the enema.

When can I resume my normal diet?

As soon as the exam is completed, you may resume you normal diet. You should drink plenty of fluids also to avoid becoming constipated.

When Will I Receive Results?

Most examinations take anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes. Frequently, the Radiologist will review your findings with you prior to your departure.

Make an Appointment

Typically your referring physician will schedule an appointment for you. If you have been asked to schedule the appointment yourself, please have your physician’s order and any pre-authorization information required by your insurance or health plan provider in hand, and call 850-878-4127.

What Should I Expect?

How is the procedure performed?
The procedure is performed by placing a catheter into the rectum. The colon is then filled with Barium (X-ray dye/contrast) and air. As the barium fills the colon, the Radiologist will watch a TV monitor and will take pictures of the colon. The Radiologist will ask you to change positions for each picture. When the Radiologist has completed his portion of the exam, the Technologist will take a few more pictures of your abdomen. The barium will then be emptied from the colon and you will be taken to the restroom. The procedure takes 45 to 60 minutes.

How uncomfortable is the exam?
You may experience mild to moderate cramping during the exam.

Why is the bowel preparation necessary?
The colon must be “clean” for the procedure. If the bowel prep is not done correctly, polyps/cancers/malignancies could be missed OR stool may give the impression there is a polyp or malignancy.

Can I take my morning medications?
Yes, daily medications can be taken with a small amount of water.

Which locations offer Barium Enema exams?

Radiology Associates of Tallahassee

1600 Phillips Road

Tallahassee, FL 32308


Tallahassee Memorial Hospital

 1300 Miccosukee Rd.

Tallahassee, FL 32308