Prep for Upper GI Test

An upper GI test been scheduled for you on this date: ____________________ at this time:________

This test will help show if you have a problem in your esophagus, stomach, or intestines that is causing your symptoms.

What the test is like

The test will take about 1 hour. You will be given a medical gown to wear. Before the test starts, you will be asked to swallow a liquid barium drink. It is white and tastes chalky. You may also be given a liquid to swallow that will form gas in your stomach. This lets the radiologist see the areas of your body that need to be assessed. You will then stand inside or lie under a fluoroscope. This is a type of X-ray machine that lets the healthcare provider watch the barium as it goes down to your stomach. You will be asked to drink more barium and move to different positions.

Before this test, tell the provider and radiology tech if:

  • You may be pregnant

  • You are allergic to any medicines, dyes (contrast materials), or foods

  • You are severely constipated or have a bowel obstruction

How to get ready for the exam

Day before the exam:

  • You may eat a normal diet until midnight before the exam.

  • Don’t drink or eat anything after midnight.

Day of the exam:

  • When you wake up on the day of the exam, don’t eat or drink anything.

  • Don’t smoke or chew gum.

  • If you are on daily medicines, you may take these with a small amount of water.

After the exam:

  • Drink extra liquids to replace what you lost and to flush your system.

  • Eat lightly that day.

  • Take your regular medicines.

  • You will pass barium mixed with stool for 1 to 2 days. This is normal.

Symptoms after an upper GI

You may not have any problems or symptoms. But you may have:

  • Bloating and nausea

  • Abdominal pain

  • Constipation from the barium. If this happens, take a mild laxative.

When to get medical advice

Call your healthcare provider right away if any of these occur:

  • You have severe cramping, pain, or swelling in your belly (abdomen).

  • You don’t have a bowel movement after 2 days, especially if you took a laxative.

  • You aren’t passing gas.

  • You have a fever.

  • You vomit several times.

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