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It looks as if I have irritable bowel syndrome, but it still needs additional tests to be sure. My doctor mentioned barium enema. Is that a regular enema (a tube stuck into my anus) or is it something else?

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Barium enema is also called lower gastrointestinal examination and it is actually an X - ray examination of your colon and rectum. However, in order to make your large intestine visible on the X - ray the process similar to enema is necessary. The contrast material which contains barium (hence the name) is inserted through the tube placed in your anus and this is done because barium blocks X - rays and the picture of colon is clearer on the X - ray as a result. When dealing with large abnormalities, the colon is filled with barium (single - contrast study); when a detailed view of the inner surface is required then barium is drained out and the colon is filled with air (air - contrast study). This technique is widely used in polyps and cancer detection, and it may as well be used in your case when IBS needs to be detected.
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