An inpatient has returned to the medical unit after a barium enema. When assessing the patients subsequent bowel patterns and stools, what finding should the nurse report to the physician?

Answer Explanation: Barium has a high osmolarity and may draw fluid into the bowel, thus increasing the intraluminal contents and resulting in greater output (large stools). The barium will give the stools a milky white appearance, and it is not uncommon for the patient to experience an increase in the number of bowel movements. Blood in fecal matter is not an expected finding and the nurse should notify the physician.

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