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Using GoLYTELY Before a Barium Enema X-ray Exam

A barium x-ray exam is a medical procedure that allows your healthcare provider to examine your gastrointestinal tract (GI tract) using liquid barium and x-rays. Before the exam, barium is used to coat the lining of the GI tract. Because x-rays cannot pass through the barium, the organs (and any signs of disease in them) show up more clearly on the x-rays.
One type of barium x-ray exam is called a barium enema. A barium enema allows your doctor to assess your lower GI tract, specifically, the lining of your rectum and colon. A barium enema can be used to diagnose problems in the large intestine, colon, and rectum, such as:
(Click Barium Enema for more information about this type of medical procedure.)
Your colon must be empty for a barium enema to be accurate. This is because any material in the colon may conceal the image. Preparation for this procedure normally involves diet restriction, such as maintaining a liquid-only diet the day before the procedure. In addition, laxatives such as GoLYTELY are often given to cleanse the bowel prior to a barium enema.

How Does It Work?

GoLYTELY is an osmotic laxative. It works by drawing large amounts of water into the colon, which softens the stool and causes watery bowel movements. In addition to polyethylene glycol, GoLYTELY contains electrolytes (i.e., potassium and sodium) to replace the electrolytes lost from the body in the watery stool.

Can Children Use It?

GoLYTELY is only approved for use in adults, as it has not been adequately studied in children. However, it is sometimes used off-label in children. Some similar polyethylene glycol electrolyte solution products are approved for use in children prior to colonoscopy procedures.

GoLYTELY Medication Information

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