Upper Gastrointestinal Series

What is Upper Gastrointestinal Series

Upper gastrointestinal series is an X-ray test. It is used to check for problems in the upper GI tract. This includes the esophagus, the stomach, and the first part of the small intestine (duodenum). For this test, you drink a white liquid called barium. The liquid shows up well on X-rays. This makes it easier for your doctor to see problems. The test can help to find out why you have symptoms such as:

  • Heartburn.
  • Pain in the upper belly (abdomen).
  • Swallowing problems.
  • Food and stomach acid moving back up into the esophagus (reflux).

What happens before the procedure?

  • Follow instructions from your doctor about what you cannot 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 drink barium. Barium looks like a milkshake.
  • You may also need to swallow a powder that causes air to build up in your stomach.
  • Using a type of X-ray, the doctor will watch the barium as it moves through your upper GI tract.
  • You may need to stand up or lie on a table. The table may move or tilt. You may need to turn from side to side.
  • X-ray pictures will be taken throughout the test.

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.
  • It is your responsibility to get your test results. Ask when your results will be ready.

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