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Barium enema X-ray
A barium enema X-ray is a type of test used to examine the colon. For this test, you’ll drink a special liquid the night before the test to clean out the bowel.
The actual test involves the insertion of a dye called barium into your rectum, using a lubricated tube. The barium highlights the rectum and colon area, allowing the doctor to better view them on an X-ray.
A colonoscopy is another type of test doctors use to examine the colon. In this test, your doctor will examine your colon using a tube that’s outfitted with a camera and light source (colonoscope).
A sedative and pain medication is often given, so you’ll likely not even remember the examination and should feel no pain.
To prepare for this test, you’ll be on a liquid-only diet for 1 to 3 days, and you may have to take a laxative or enema the night before the test to clean out the bowel
How to treat and prevent constipation
Changing your diet and increasing your physical activity level are the easiest and fastest ways to treat and prevent constipation. Try the following techniques as well:
Every day, drink 1 1/2 to 2 quarts of unsweetened, decaffeinated fluids, like water, to hydrate the body.
Limit consumption of alcohol and caffeinated drinks, which cause dehydration.
Add fiber-rich foods to your diets, such as raw fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans, prunes, or bran cereal. Your daily intake of fiber should be between 20 and 35 grams.
Cut down on low-fiber foods, such as meat, milk, cheese, and processed foods.
Aim for about 150 minutes of moderate exercise every week, with a goal of 30 minutes per day at least five times per week. Try walking, swimming, or biking.
If you feel the urge to have a bowel movement, don’t delay. The longer you wait, the harder your stool can become.
Add fiber supplements to your diet if needed. Just remember to drink plenty of fluids because fluids help fiber work more efficiently.
Use laxatives sparingly. Your doctor may prescribe laxatives or enemas for a short period of time to help soften your stools. Never use laxatives for more than two weeks without talking to your doctor. Your body can become dependent on them for proper colon function.
Consider adding probiotics to your diet, like those found in yogurt and kefir with live active cultures. StudiesTrusted Source has shown that this dietary change can be helpful for those with chronic constipation.
If you still have trouble with constipation, your doctor may prescribe medications to help.
According to a study trusted Source, linaclotide (Linzess) is recommended for people with IBS-related constipation.
These medications work by increasing the secretions in your intestines, making the stool easier to pass.
Your doctor may also advise that you stop taking certain medications that may cause constipation.
More severe colon or rectal problems may require manual procedures to clear the colon of impacted stool, therapy to retrain slow muscles, or surgery to remove the problem part of your colon.
What is the outlook for constipation?
Most cases of constipation are mild and easily treated with changes in diet and exercise. If you’re experiencing chronic constipation or constipation along with other bowel changes, it’s important that you talk to your doctor.