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  1. Hi, I hope someone can give me some advice, and I apologize if this is gross. I am going for a barium enema on Thursday and I just don't know what to expect. I've read some things, but no one near me has had this test, so I cannot get any feedback. Is it bad? Does it hurt? How long will it take to ahem, "expel" the barium. Will I be able to work at 3pm (my test is at nine)? I am a little worried about it.....thanks
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  2. 4 Comments

  3. by   leesonlpn
    I think the colon cleansing is worse than the actual enema. Our patients have to drink oral fleet X2 and clear fluids two days before. The oral fleets are dasterdly. If you are doing it as an outpatient, they may give you the 4litre, yes I mean 4litre prep.Your bowel has to be sparkling clean. The actual procedure is uncomfortable, and you'll be pooping barium a couple of days. I think I'd want to take the afternoon shift off. The exam is pretty tiring.The test takes about 45 minutes. You will get some abd cramps, and the urge to defecate, as the barium and air are introduced into your bowel(How do you do). The table is tilted to encourage coverage of bowel wall. After the test you have to drink a lot. Not only to aid getting rid of the barium, but with the prep you can get dehydrated. My husband had this done not too long ago, so that's how I know. Plus, working on medical floor we do lots of preps for ba enemas. Good luck!!
  4. by   shay
    Alright, I'll confess.....I've had one. What leesonlpn said is correct, about both the prep, procedure, and post-procedure. The actual procedure doesn't hurt, just man-oh-man pressure from hell. You can't WAIT to get into the bathroom after it's over!!! LOL!!

    I was so freaked out and embarassed b/c I'm a nurse that the actual procedure itself was of no consequence. It really isn't that bad. My suggestion is to just keep taking in deep breaths and blowing out through your mouth and reminding yourself to stay as limp and relaxed as you can through the procedure, it'll make it go faster and will be easier on both you and the doc.

    Now that I've confessed, no comments from the peanut gallery!!!
  5. by   fedupnurse
    Don't plan on going to work at 3 pm the same day. You may still be pooping a lot and you may also be quite gassy. Take the day off get it done and then relax. The worst is "hold it. Hold it just another minute. 5 minutes later they are still saying just another minute." Good luck and feel better soon!
  6. by   caroladybelle
    I would also ask why they are doing it, and whether a colonoscopy might be more diagnostic. Many times the MD will tell you...ehhh...well, if the barium doesn't show anything, "we" might have to schedule a colonoscopy. "we" my butt (no pun intended). Then you will have to undergo the same prep again for the scope.

    Barium enemas (in my area & experience) cost about as much as scopes and are not nearly as good for diagnosis of major problems. While the scope is more invasive, biopsies can be done and there is much better visualization. Also, in many many many cases, the barium must be followed w/endoscopy - when endoscopy itself would have sufficed. And w/sedation it is relatively pain free.

    Sorry to be confrontational to your MD, but after chemo and 15 years of ulcerative colitis, I tend to be more questioning of MDs than most people.

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