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Barium Enema vs. Colonoscopy Barium Enema vs. Colonoscopy

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Unread 01-08-2011, 12:40 PM
Barium Enema vs. Colonoscopy

Hi Everyone,

I am slowly going though the process of determining whether or not I will need a hysterectomy. I was told by my OB that I should have a "lower GI work-up" to make sure that the pain I have isn't caused by something besides my uterus because "there's a lot of stuff in there."

I was referred to a GI doc who requested me to get a Barium Enema. After doing the miserable bowel prep, I went in for the BE and was told they couldn't complete the procedure because I still had fecal matter in my bowel (hard to believe I still had anything in me.) I was pretty upset after having gone through all that just to be turned away.

After that experience, I started researching all this on the internet and found that the BE is a pretty miserable process, and that a colonoscopy is actually a better diagnostic tool. I would like to ask the GI doc for the colonoscopy, but I'm not sure he / my HMO insurance company will go for it since the BE is cheaper.

Anyone know how I can get an HMO to approve the colonoscopy before the BE? I guess I should add that I'm 44.

Any other words of wisdom would be greatly appreciated.

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Unread 01-08-2011, 09:19 PM
Re: Barium Enema vs. Colonoscopy

From what I understand of both procedures, and having had a colonoscopy and rectal barium a couple times for CT scans, I would definitely rather do a colonscopy if I had a choice simply because I don't remember the colonoscopy! However, the colonoscopy bowel prep was far more intense--two days of prep and two days of liquid diet.

It can't hurt to talk to your doctor about your concerns. If nothing else, there may be some options to make the barium enema a bit easier for you.

Unread 01-08-2011, 10:04 PM
Re: Barium Enema vs. Colonoscopy

I've had luck just telling them what I want, and since you might need both I'd push for just the one that shows more----the colonoscopy. If he says no I'd question it and find out what it would take to get the test. Can't hurt to ask. I've found the squeaky wheel approach works at my HMO so I do ask for things that seem appropriate to me and they have usually responded well.
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Unread 01-09-2011, 04:52 AM
Re: Barium Enema vs. Colonoscopy

There is a third choice called a virtual colonoscopy. That is where you do the liquid diet thing along with drinking the stuff to clean you out, however INSTEAD of being knocked out, they inflate you colon n then use a Cat scan to look at the entire system. Procedure takes all of an hour, theres no drugs and you can drive yourself home. You will be gassy, but its better than other side effects!
Unread 01-09-2011, 07:37 AM
Re: Barium Enema vs. Colonoscopy

I know in my case, my GI didn't want to do a colonoscopy because of the fear of perforating my colon due to adhesions. Unfortunately, because the BE doesn't show the entire intestinal tract, it would have been useless in seeing what was going on with my hernias and mesh problems.
From what I understand, the correct test is a " barium swallow". This would show everything and uses X-rays and can be done in an upright position.
Do you have a facility that can do a true dynamic pelvic MRI? You would not only be laying down, but also in a sitting position ( a potty) to really see where everything is. Unfortunately, there doesn't appear to be such a facility in my state.
Discuss all the possibilities with your doc. You don't want to keep having tests that aren't productive.
Good Luck!
Unread 01-12-2011, 03:07 PM
Re: Barium Enema vs. Colonoscopy

My insurance who fights about paying for anything paid for me to have a colonoscopy a few years ago. I went in complaining of problems when they did the CAT scan and found nothing the next step I was told was a colonoscopy... So I had one done... Knocked out for the entire thing I woke up to the doctor telling me she found a small polyp which she removed and that I would have some gas from the procedure... I was starving so we stopped on our way home for some food and I have been fine ever since... No more pain in that area anyway...
Unread 03-02-2011, 08:58 AM
Re: Barium Enema vs. Colonoscopy

What prompted the OB to suggest the lower GI work up? None of the GYN tests were definitive?
Unread 03-02-2011, 09:09 AM
Re: Barium Enema vs. Colonoscopy

I have had both procedures--the second time I went in for a colonoscopy it could not be completed for some reason (probably gynolcologicaly based I suspect now, given my recent history) and I then had to go in the the BE to complete the evaluation--but at least I was able to drive myself in and home for the latter and fortunately the facility was very close to home. They are both yucky and let's hope for the increased of the virtual test--
Unread 03-02-2011, 09:30 AM
Re: Barium Enema vs. Colonoscopy

Having went thru these tests last fall (plus lots others) I have to say I'm calling Shenanigans!

Without a doubt, these tests are all very very useful in terms of diagnosing certain conditions. But, by the same token, some conditions are misdiagnosed, tests get misinterpreted, and some things just will not be noted as significant until a surgeon opens a patient. Turning a $1,300 laparotomy into a $13,000 event (after radiology gets thru "diagnosing" the problem). What's the problem there?

Just my $0.02, sorry for the rant.

Good luck with getting your HMO/Dr. Issue solved. I hope for you that this process goes quickly and smoothly for you.

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