Barium enema

"The x-ray doses used for this test do not pose a health hazard. Only pregnant women should not have this test".


The barium enema is an x-ray examination of the large intestine (colon). The scan is a painless technique although it can be uncomfortable. The radiologist may administer some medication to relax the bowel.

A radiologist and a technician will give you a barium enema. The barium mixture fills the large intestine so that it is visible to x-rays.

The radiologist will follow the scan on a special television and periodically ask you to change position or hold your breath to get the study images or to take the X-rays.

The scan is performed with X-rays, which are ionizing radiation, at doses that do not represent a danger to your health.

However, pregnant women, or those who suspect they are in that state, should not undergo this scan.

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When is a barium enema indicated?

Its purpose is the study of the large intestine both in its morphology and in its function and consists of the introduction of barium and air contrast, through the rectum, and obtaining X-rays, which will later be studied by the radiologist.

Most frequent indications of this test:

  • Diarrhea.
  • Diverticulosis and diverticulitis.
  • Constipation.

Do you have any of these diseases?

It may be necessary to perform an opaque enema

How is the opaque enema performed?

It is done with X-rays (ionizing radiation) at doses that do not represent a danger to your health. However, pregnant women, or those who suspect they are in that state, should not undergo this examination.

The procedure lasts approximately 30 to 60 minutes.

Food can be eaten as soon as the test is completed, and it is advisable to drink a lot of liquids to mobilize the barium.

In order to perform this test completely and reliably, the colon must be clean.

You will need to eat a low-residue diet and drink an evacuation solution to make the bowel as clean as possible.

You should not stop taking your medication if you are undergoing any kind of treatment.

If you are diabetic, you should consult your doctor before taking any medication on the morning of the exam. You should also consult your doctor if you have kidney disease.

It is very important to follow these instructions carefully because, otherwise, the scan may be of little diagnostic value, be suspended or repeated later.

Where do we do it?


The Radiology Service
of the Clínica Universidad de Navarra

We have the most advanced technology to perform diagnostic radiological tests: PET-CT (the first equipment of these characteristics installed in Spain), 1.5 and 3 tesla magnetic resonances, latest generation digital mammography, etc.

We have an innovative system for archiving and communicating medical images, which facilitates their storage and handling for better diagnostic capacity.

Organized in specialized areas

  • Neck and chest area
  • Abdominal area
  • Musculoskeletal area
  • Neuroradiology Area
  • Breast Area
  • Interventional radiology Area
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Why at the Clinica?

  • We are the private center with the largest technological equipment in Spain.
  • Specialists with extensive experience, trained in centers of national and international reference.
  • We collaborate in a multidisciplinary way with the rest of the Clinic's departments.

Our team of professionals