How to Prepare for a Lower GI Tract X-ray (Barium Enema)
Your doctor will give you detailed instructions on how to prepare for your lower GI imaging. Pediatric patients require no preparation up to age X.
You should inform your doctor of any medications you are taking and if you have any allergies, especially to barium or iodinated contrast materials. Also inform your doctor about recent illnesses or other medical conditions.
On the day before the procedure you will likely be asked not to eat, and to drink only clear liquids like juice, tea, black coffee, cola or broth, and to avoid dairy products. After midnight, you should not eat or drink anything. You may also be instructed to take a laxative (in either pill or liquid form) and to use an over-the-counter enema preparation the night before the exam and possibly a few hours before the procedure. Just follow your doctor's instructions. You can take your usual prescribed oral medications with limited amounts of water.
You may be asked to remove some or all of your clothes and to wear a gown during the exam. You may also be asked to remove jewelry, eye glasses and any metal objects or clothing that might interfere with the x-ray images.
Women should always inform their doctor or X-ray technician if there is any possibility that they are pregnant. Many imaging tests are not performed during pregnancy so as not to expose the fetus to radiation. If an X-ray is necessary, precautions will be taken to minimize radiation exposure to the baby.