Barium is a milky fluid that absorbs x-rays. Barium is placed into the bowels through the rectum. This is called an enema. Barium coats the lining of the lower intestines. This makes that area easier to see on an x-ray.

Barium Enema
Nucleus factsheet image
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

You may have a barium enema to look for problems in your lower intestines. Some things your doctor may be looking for include:

  • Abnormal growths such as polyps and cancers
  • Ulcers
  • Diverticula—small pouches in the wall of the large intestine
  • Thickening of the lining of the large intestine