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Severe depression, anxiety, high BP, GERD. Did colonoscopy. Taking propranolol, ativan, bupropion. Awaited barium enema during MRI. What is the barium test about?

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Oncologist, Surgical
Practicing since : 2008
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medications: propranolol la 160mg 1 in morning, ativan 1mg 1 in morning-1 in evening and another if needed, bupropion xl 300mg 1 in morning, cymbalta 90mg 1 in morning, nuvigil 75 mg in the morning, nexium 40 mg in evening
conditions: severe depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, gerd

A while back I had a colonoscopy. There were three very small polyps that he removed. Testing showed they weren't cancerous. It was a good report.

Since then I've still had weekly bouts of diarrhea and cramping. Last week they did a test where I drank some white liquid while they were doing x-rays. That turned out good. I had to wait for quite a long time while the stuff went through my small intestine. I hope I'm saying this right. There was some sort of problem with those x-rays. I don't know what exactly but they couldn't see them clearly. It was a bit frustrating because I had to wait around for hours wearing only a thin cotton gown.

It's been about a month since the last test. Friday I'm going to the imaging center. The doctor said they want to give me a barium enema. He said they wanted to use it to look at my small intestine. I asked if I had to drink the barium again and he said no. I've got stuff to drink to clean out and some suppositories. He said the clean out won't be as hard as before the colonoscopy. He said when I got there they would take a regular x-ray to see if I'm cleaned out. They may give me a couple of regular enemas. I'm not sure why and I don't like that either but it is okay.

He said there is a way to make the barium from the enema to go into the small intestine so they can get better pictures. He said it would be uncomfortable but they would give me a couple of shots before and one is for pain. Because of the shots I'll need someone to drive me home.

It doesn't seem to make sense to me. I had a barium enema when I was 13 and in the hospital. Although I was very full and felt the need to go to the bathroom it wasn't too bad. I also didn't need any shots for pain.

I am going to talk to him again but can you tell me anything about this test? I'd like to know what they will do. I get embarrassed easily. It is also possible he want tell me all the details to keep me from worrying. I don't like that much. I'm not worried, much. I know they know what they are doing and trust them but I don't like surprises.
Posted Wed, 11 Jul 2012 in General Health
Answered by Dr. Rohan Khandelwal 53 minutes later
Thanks for writing in.
In the barium enema test, they first make you clear your bowels by drinking a laxative and giving you enemas. This is followed by insertion of barium through your rectum. This barium then makes its way from the large bowel to the small bowel and this test is basically used to look at the structure of the large bowel (and not the small bowel). They sometimes even insert some gas into your rectum to improve the visibility of the bowel wall (which can help in picking up small polyps/ cancer). This test is a bit uncomfortable but much less compared to a colonoscopy.
By doing this test they will be able to diagnose more polyps in you bowel. Y It is also important to continue your other medications.

Hope your test turns out to be normal. Feel free to discuss your problems with me.

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