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Dr. Muneeb Ali
Dr. Muneeb Ali, Doctor
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 5646
Experience:  MBBS, MD, MCCM. Currently working in Critical Care Medicine with 10 year experience in Medicine
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Would a barium enema test also show problems with a large

Customer Question

Would a barium enema test also show problems with a large hiatial hernia surgery that was done in 2015? My mother in law is sure her stomach "has moved" and the doctor ordered this test rather than the barium swallow we were expecting/
JA: How long has this been bothering you? Are you experiencing any vomiting or nausea?
Customer: No, she is just having pain in her back and stomach and also heaviness in her chest.
JA: Anything else in your medical history you think the doctor should know?
Customer: She has had open heart surgery and has a pacemaker but has kept up with her cardiologist and that seems to be fine. She had surgery on this large hiatial hernia May of 2015 and feels that the problem is there.
Submitted: 1 month ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Dr. Muneeb Ali replied 1 month ago.

Hi,
Welcome to JA and thanks for this question. Im sorry to hear about your symptoms. Now you are correct, in order to determine issues with the upper gastrointestinal tract a barium swallow or barium follow through test is done which can pick up problems in the stomach and the small intestines. A barium enema test on the order hand can pick up problems in the rectum and colon but would NOT pick up on any complications related to the surgery done on the stomach or the small intestines.

Ideally if issues are suspected with hiatal hernia surgery and it is thought that there may be obstruction in the small intestine or the stomach due to adhesions caused by the surgery then a barium swallow or follow through test should be conducted, a barium enema would not show any problems this high up in the gastrointestinal tract. It is possible that your doctor is thinking of a lower gastrointestinal problem such as obstruction etc which may be causing her abdominal pain or constipation.

The best thing to do is to confirm with the doctor whether this is actually the test he wanted to order, it is possible that he mistakenly ordered an enema when he wanted to order a swallow or follow through test.

Do you have any more questions?

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Expert:  Dr. Muneeb Ali replied 1 month ago.

Would you like to know anything else? Any clarifications or additional questions that you might have, i would be happy to answer them for you. If done for now, please remember to leave a positive rating as that is the only way we are compensated for our time spent helping you. You can continue to ask follow-up questions even after the rating