Barium Swallow

What is Barium Swallow

Barium swallow is an X-ray test. It is used to check your throat and the tube that carries food from your mouth to your stomach (esophagus).

For this test, you will drink a white liquid called barium. The liquid shows up well on X-rays and helps your doctor see problems.

What happens before the procedure?

  • Follow your doctor’s instructions about limiting what you eat or drink.
  • Ask your doctor about changing or stopping your normal medicines. This is important if you take diabetes medicines or blood thinners.

What happens during the procedure?

  • You will be positioned on an X-ray table.
  • You will drink the liquid barium. This liquid looks like a milkshake.
  • The X-ray table may be moved so you are more upright. You may also need to change your position on the table.
  • X-ray pictures will be shown on a monitor. This allows the doctor to watch the barium as it passes through your body.

The procedure may vary among doctors and hospitals.

What happens after the procedure?

  • Return to your normal activities and your normal diet as told by your doctor.
  • Your poop (feces) may be white or gray for 2–3 days. You may be given a medicine that helps you poop (laxative). This helps the barium leave your body.
  • Your doctor may also tell you to:
    • Drink enough fluid to keep your pee (urine) clear or pale yellow.
    • Eat foods with a lot of fiber in them. These include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans.
  • Call your doctor if:
    • You have trouble pooping (constipation).
    • You cannot poop or pass gas.
    • You have pain or swelling in your belly (abdomen).
    • You have a fever.
  • Ask your doctor when and how you will get your test results.

Sign up to receive the trending updates and tons of Health Tips

Join SeekhealthZ and never miss the latest health information