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Br J Radiol. 1995 Aug;68(812):841-3.

Does peppermint oil relieve spasm during barium enema?

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  • 1Department of Diagnostic Imaging, Northern General Hospital NHS Trust, Sheffield, UK.


The effectiveness of topical peppermint oil added to barium sulphate suspension in relieving colonic muscle spasm during double contrast barium enema examination was assessed in a double blind study. 141 patients were randomized either to a control group (71 patients) examined with standard barium suspension or to the treatment group which received peppermint oil mixed with the barium preparation. No residual spasm was evident in a significant proportion of patients in the treated group (60%) compared with the control group (35%) (p < 0.001). The patients' acceptability of the procedure was good and there were no adverse effects on the overall quality of the examination. In conclusion, the addition of peppermint oil to the barium suspension seems to reduce the incidence of colonic spasm during the examination. The technique is simple, safe, cheap and it may lessen the need for intravenous administration of spasmolytic agents.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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