Lower GI Series

A Lower GI Series also called a Barium Enema is an x-ray of the large intestine (bowel). To make the bowel easier to see when x-rayed, liquid barium and air are put into the bowel through a small enema tube inserted into the rectum. During the procedure, you may feel some discomfort, but there is usually no pain.

Before the Procedure

Before the barium enema is done, the bowel must be cleansed. You will be given instructions for a bowel preparation and a prescription for any medication you may need.
Please follow the preparation instructions carefully.

During the Procedure

  • You will remove your clothes, put on a hospital gown and lie on a large x-ray table that will move into different positions during the procedure.
  • The liquid barium and air will be given through an enema tube placed in your rectum.
  • This tube will remain in your rectum during the procedure. You will feel full and may have mild cramps and a strong urge to have a bowel movement. This is normal. Breathing slowly and deeply will help.
  • After the x-rays have been taken and the rectal tube is removed, you will pass the barium in the bathroom. When you have passed the barium, the final x-ray will be taken.
  • The exam takes between 30 minutes to 1 hour.

After the Procedure

  • Drink plenty of fluids (at least four 8-oz glasses) during the first eight hours after the exam.
  • You may resume your regular diet.
  • Your first bowel movement may be white or pale in color.
  • The radiologist will review the x-rays and your doctor will discuss the results with you.
  • Please call your doctor if you do not have a bowel movement within two days following the procedure. Your doctor may order a laxative.