How is a barium enema used to treat a child's gastrointestinal tract birth defects?

It's not. It is used to diagnose GI tract birth defects; it is used to treat an acquired condition called intususception, in which small bowel "telescopes" and becomes jammed in large bowel. Barium under pressure pushes it back out while at the same time showing "before" and "after" pictures -- confirming both diagnosis and cure.
Usually not. Usually contrast enema is a diagnostic tool. Occasionally it can be used as a treatment.
Rarely. Babies with cystic fibrosis may have a bowel obstruction caused by thick stool referred to a meconium ileus. Some of these babies can benefit from a contrast (not barium) enema to help flush out the thick stool (meconium). Others will require surgical intervention.
Is an X-ray study. A barium enema is an x-ray study. The barium goes up pass the anus, into the intestines, and fills the inside of the intestines. X-rays are taken, to see the shape of the intestines, which with barium will show up as white (on an otherwise blacker background) on the x-rays.
It doesn't treat. A barium enema can be used to diagnose, but not to treat, congenital malformations of a baby's gastrointestinal tract. A different type of xray enema, called gastrograffin, may be used as treatment. It helps relieve intestinal obstruction when the meconium (baby's first green tar-like stool) is abnormally sticky and is causing a blockage, by helping to clear the meconium out of the intestine.

Related Questions

How do gastrointestinal tract birth defects affect a child's life?

Depends. Some defects are minor and cause no trouble at all, others are fatal depending on the severity of the defect, it's exact location in the GI tract and any other associated anomalies.
Many defect types. The gastrointestinal tract runs from the lips to the anus, and thus has many different parts to it. Each part can have a birth defect. The way a child's life is affected would depend on the location and severity if his defect (s).

What other defects do infants with gastrointestinal tract birth defects have?

Many. Vertebral anomalies, renal abnormalities, anal atresia, te fistula, raidal anomalies and cardiac anomalies among others.
Too many to list. Gastrointestinal tract birth defect (s) can be an isolated finding as well as being a part of many different syndromes. In addition, associated defect (s) are variable depending upon the affected part of GI tract, e.g., esophagus or duodenum.
Depends. Sometimes these occur as isolated events and sometimes other organ systems are involved.
Many different types. Children with GI birth defects can have associated defecys at either end of the GI tract;- tracheoesophageal fistula at head end, cloacal abnormalities (single opening for urethra, vagina + rectum) or into a bladder which lies open on abdominal wall (cloacal exstrophy) imperforate anus frequently associated with recto-urethral or recto-vesical fistula + vertebral and heart defects. Down syndrome.

Do gastrointestinal tract birth defects cause fatalities?

Yes. Certain GI tract birth defects can be life threatening. The most common of these shows up with vomiting in the first day or two of life. It is malrotation of the gut. No nutrition or fluid goes through the intestinal tract.
Yes. Painless rectal bleeding can be a sign of a meckel's diverticulum, a birth defect of the GI tract. The blood resembles currant jelly. This usually shows up before 2 years of age. This is treatable by surgery, if caught early.
They can. Certain anomalies are not treatable, however these are rare.

What kind of gastrointestinal tract birth defects can be recognized at birth?

Most can: Anal atresia, or absence of anus, and te fistula, or closed esophagus, tend to be immediately obvious and immediately life threatening, as id diaphragmatic hernia (absence of half the diaphragm, with intestines bulging into the chest where lungs should be). Others can be silent, or very subtle.
Blockages. Few GI tract defects are obvious just by examining the baby at birth. However most babies with serious defects (usually a blockage somewhere between the mouth and the anus) are symptomatic. Vomiting and drooling may be a sign of esophageal or intestinal blockage. Not stooling in the 1st 24 hours may mean blockage in the intestines, colon or anus. These babies need diagnostic imaging studies done.
Just a few. Many birth defects are possible with the gastrointestinal tract, which goes from the mouth to the anus; but luckily, defects are uncommon. A defect that is visible from outside the body, such as an incomplete abdominal wall (allowing the intestines to be visible coming out of the body) is one defect that is obvious at birth.
Most. Generally babies with GI tract anomalies will have symptoms shortly after birth which prompt further testing.

What are the physical impacts of gastrointestinal tract birth defects?

Depends. This is highly variable depending on the nature of the defect. Did you have a specific defect in mind?
That depends... The physical effects of gastrointestinal birth defects depend on what the condition is. Gastroschisis and omphalocele are two GI defects requiring surgery. In both cases, the most common problems in follow-up are related to poor motility of the intestinal tract. The baby may have trouble tolerating feedings and may get distended/bloated, may spit up, and may not stool as often as expected.