Dietary instructions for patients requiring a barium enema taking Picolax®

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Picolax is a medicine to clear out your bowel before your x-ray. It will make you have frequent bowel movements starting within 3 hrs of the first dose. You are advised to stay at home if possible or somewhere where you can have access to the toilet without embarrassment. As you may feel hungry you are also advised not to undertake any heavy or strenuous work. While you are taking the Picolax it is important to drink a lot of fluid. This means drinking a glass of fluid (see table below) every hour until your bowel movements stop. The medicine will not be effective if you are dehydrated.

Suitable fluids to Drink

Still water
Clear fruit juice diluted (apple or grape)
Squash diluted
Tea or coffee black or with skimmed milk and sugar or sweetener if required.

Do not drink

Fizzy drinks
Fruit juice with shreds of fruit in them (orange, grapefruit)
Full-cream or semi-skimmed milk
Non-clear soups

The day before your x-ray

Before breakfast but no later than 08.00am take the first sachet of Picolax – Dissolve the contents of the sachet in 3-4 tablespoons of cold water in a glass. The
solution will become hot. Wait for about 5 mins then dilute with cold water to make half a glassful. Stir the mixture then drink it.

Drink plenty of fluid (see table) but no food other than that on the list below.

Breakfast (about 8.00am-9.00am)
One boiled or poached egg
One slice of white bread
Honey or seedless jam or jelly marmalade
Cornflakes, skimmed milk, sugar
Lunch (about 12.00am – 1.30pm)
Clear soup, Bovril or marmite (There must be no vegetables, pasta or any other bits in the soup)
Grilled or poached fish or chicken
Cooked white rice
Plain yoghurt or clear jelly

2 hrs after lunch but before 4.00pm take your second sachet or Picolax preparing the mixture as before.

Supper (about 7.00pm – 9.00pm)
Clear soup or meat extract (such as Bovril or Marmite) but no food. Continue to drink until the diarrhoea stops. Then no food or drink until 1hr before the examination.

1 hr before the examination
You may have one slice of lightly buttered white bread or toast, and one cup of tea or coffee with skimmed milk and sugar if required.

After the examination you will be able to eat and drink normally. The barium can occasionally cause constipation. To prevent this you should continue to drink plenty of fluids for the next 48 hours.