What is a defecography?
A defecography is an X-ray exam of the elimination of stool from the rectum and when appropriate, includes the position of the base of the bladder as well as the position of small bowel loops in relation to the rectum. It is a critical examination in the evaluation of causes of constipation.
How do I prepare for this exam?
It is important that this exam be scheduled after NO bowel cleansing medications, enema, or bulk agents have been given for five days. There are no dietary restrictions.
Can I take my usual medications?
Patients are instructed to avoid bulk agents such as psyllium seed (Metamucil or Citrolac). Stool softeners should also be avoided. Other medications can be taken without restriction.
What will happen in the X-ray room?
A radiologist and technologist will administer the exam. Your exam commonly begins with the oral ingestion of a thin barium solution. Next, in most patients, the bladder will be filled with a special contrast agent and X-rays taken. Finally, the rectum will be filled with barium paste and x-rays will be taken during the process of elimination (defecation).
Will the exam be painful?
There will be fullness of the bladder and some cramping of the colon during the filling of the rectum.
How long will the exam take?
The exam will take 1 to 2 hours depending largely on the speed of barium transit through the small bowel.
How will I learn the results?
Your primary care physician will discuss the results with you.