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At UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, we believe parents and guardians can contribute to the success of this test, and we invite you to participate. Please read the following information to learn about the test and how you can help.
A barium enema (BARE-ee-um EN-ee-ma), or BE, is a test that shows the structure of the large intestine and colon. The colon is located below the stomach at end of the large intestine. Digested food passes through the colon on the way out of the body through the rectum.
The barium enema is done at the Department of Pediatric Radiology of Children’s Hospital. In the exam room will be a pediatric radiology doctor, who will be taking the X-ray pictures of your child’s large intestine and colon, and an X-ray technologist, who will be helping the doctor. You will see an X-ray machine, a long table and a television screen. You might explain to your child that the X-ray machine is a large camera for taking pictures that will be shown on the screen. If your child has any questions, the doctor or X-ray technologist will be happy to answer them before the test.
Your child will be asked to change into a hospital gown. When your child is ready, the test will begin.
As a parent, you may have concerns about radiation exposure. Children’s Hospital takes every precaution to make sure your child is safe.
We welcome your help and support during this test. Parents or guardians are invited to join their child in the X-ray room. Other children can wait in the waiting room, or the Lemieux Sibling Center if siblings are ages 3 to 12 who are toilet trained.
A barium enema takes about 30 to 45 minutes. The test is finished when the X-ray technologist and doctor have taken all of the pictures they need and determined that enough of the barium has been emptied from your child's large intestine and colon.
If your child has any special needs or health issues you feel the doctor needs to know about, please call the Department of Pediatric Radiology at Children’s before the test. It is important to notify us in advance about any special needs.
Preparing your child beforehand, as well as comforting your child during the test, will help your child have a more positive experience. Sometimes it is difficult to know how to explain tests to children. If you have any questions about ways to prepare or support your child, or feel your child will have difficulty during the test, please call the Department of Pediatric Radiology at Children’s and ask to speak with the Child Life Specialist.
Children's Hospital's main campus is located in the Lawrenceville neighborhood. Our main hospital address is:
UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh
One Children’s Hospital Way
4401 Penn Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15224
In addition to the main hospital, Children's has many convenient locations in other neighborhoods throughout the greater Pittsburgh region.
With myCHP, you can request appointments, review test results, and more.
For questions about a hospital bill call:
To pay your bill online, please visit UPMC's online bill payment system.
Interested in giving to Children's Hospital? Support the hospital by making a donation online, joining our Heroes in Healing monthly donor program, or visiting our site to learn about the other ways you can give back.