What Should I Expect?
For a barium swallow, upper GI and small bowel follow-through, the patient drinks a flavored, barium liquid which allows the radiologist to see the inside of the esophagus (food pipe), stomach and small bowel (intestine). Frequently, the patient will also have to drink a seltzer which distends the esophagus and stomach.
For a barium enema, a tube is inserted into the rectum through which barium liquid is administered to fill the colon. This is frequently followed by the administration of air. This test allows the radiologist to see the inside of the colon.
How long will it take?
A barium swallow, upper GI and barium enema require 45 minutes to an hour. A small bowel follow-through can take 90 minutes to 3 hours depending upon how fast the barium moves through the intestines.
What should I do after the procedure?
Eat normally and drink plenty of fluids. You will receive Senokot tablets with instructions. These are a mild laxative.