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Lower GI Series

Lower GI Series

Lower GI Series Available at St. Mary's

A barium enema examination is a common procedure done to visualize the colon and rectum. The purpose is to detect polyps, inflammation, diverticula and changes in the colon. Barium is a liquid, which shows tissue structure of the colon separate from the other organs in the abdomen. The barium must be retained while a series of x-rays are taken. An air contrast barium enema uses an additional contrast, which is air. The procedure takes less than one hour.

Patient Prep 

Adult (day before exam):

4 laxative tablets
10 oz. Citroma at 4:00pm
cleansing enema 10:00pm
No food or drink after midnight 

  • 0-3 yrs: no food or drink
     for 3 hours prior to exam
  • 4-6 yrs: no food or drink 3 hours
     prior to exam and 1/2 laxative tablet
     the night before exam
  • 7-13 yrs: no food or drink
    after midnight, 1 laxative tablet
    the night before and day of exam
  • Ages 14 and up: use adult prep 





Test Procedure 

You will be asked to change into an x-ray gown for this procedure and lie on the x-ray table with the equipment positioned above you. A lubricated enema tip will be inserted into your rectum. A radiologist will use the x-ray equipment and watch as the barium flows into your colon. You will be asked to turn from side to side as the images are taken. For air contrast barium enema’s, the barium may be drained back into the enema bag after the colon has been coated and then air will be introduced into the colon to provide a double contrast (Barium and air). After a series of x-rays are completed, you will be allowed to go to the bathroom and expel the barium and air. You may notice evidence of barium in your stool for the next few days.

After the Test
It is important to maintain your regular diet and drink lots of water throughout the day – 6-8 glasses. This will allow your colon to be sufficiently cleansed of barium and avoid constipation. After this  procedure you may  resume normal activities. 

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