Pineapple juice can replace barium contrast during MRI with contrast (MRE)
MRE (Magnetic Resonance Elastography) is a specific type of MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) performed with contrast material to produce detailed images of the small intestine. MRE is preferred over CT (Computed Tomography) to reduce repeated radiation exposure, especially because the nature of IBD requires repeat examinations which can result in large cumulative doses.
However, some patients have concern about using the barium contrast. Mild side effects may include stomach cramps, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting or constipation. Rare side effects include allergic reactions like hives, itching, agitation or fast heartbeat. A patient is at greater risk of an adverse reaction to barium-sulfate contrast materials if he has a history of asthma, hay fever, or other allergies.
As it turns out, there are effective alternatives to using barium, namely the artificial drink Breeza or simply natural pineapple juice. Currently there is no clear unified standard, and it is unfortunate that not all doctors and not all imaging centers are willing to adopt these advanced options due to lack of awareness and indifference to patient’s comfort.