Problems of the upper GI tract are diagnosed through an upper GI series which uses X-rays and fluoroscopy for the detection of ailments. It is also known as barium swallow.
The first part of your GI tract is known as upper GI tract which includes the mouth, esophagus, stomach, duodenum (first part of the small intestine), and small intestine.
There are two types of upper GI series:
1. Standard barium upper GI series- it uses only barium during the test.
2. Double-contrast upper GI series- it uses a combination of air and barium to create a detailed view of the stomach lining.
Doctors usually ask the patients not to eat, drink, smoke, or chew gum during the eight hours of the procedure so that a clear upper GI tract is ensured.
The patient may expect to feel bloated or nauseous for sometime after the procedure. They however can resume most normal activities after leaving the hospital.
The patient may also experience their stool to turn white or light coloured for several days after the procedure.
If you have had an upper GI series and are experiencing symptoms like failure to have a bowel movement within 2 days of the procedure, fever, inability to pass gas, severe abdominal pain, and severe constipation, should seek immediate medical attention.
A very rare risk from the exposure to radiations emitted during the procedure is cancer. The cause of it is however unknown. But, some common after effects of an upper GI series can be:
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) conduct and support basic and clinical research into many digestive disorders.
Image Courtesy: Getty
Read more articles on Understanding Upper GI Series.