What is Lower GI Series used for?

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Dec 31, 2013

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Quick Bites

  • Lower GI series is done to diagnose problem with lower GI series.
  • It uses x-rays to detect the problem.
  • Barium is used in the procedure to get clear pictures.
  • Normal physical activities can be resumed right after the procedure.

What is Lower Gastrointestinal (GI) Series?

A lower GI series is a test conducted to diagnose problems with the large intestine. This test uses x-rays to detect a problem and is also known as barium enema. An x-ray creates an image using radiation and records it on a film or a computer. To make the images more clear, the intestines are filled with a chalky liquid called barium.

There are majorly two types of lower GI series:

  • Single contrast lower GI series in which only barium is used during the test
  • Double contrast or air contrast lower GI series in which a combination of barium and air is used to create a more detailed view of the large intestine.

Lower Gastrointestinal Series Procedure


Why is Lower GI Series Performed?

A lower GI series is used to diagnose the causes behind the following things:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Bleeding from the anus
  • Changes in bowel habits
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Weight loss

Lower Gastrointestinal Series Procedure


What to Expect After a Lower GI Series?

Once a GI series is performed, a person can expect the following:

  • Cramps in the abdomen and bloating which may occur for a short duration after the procedure.
  • The person can get back to normal physical activities after leaving the hospital
  • Barium used during the test can make the stools to be white or light colored for several days of the procedure.

Image courtesy: Getty Images

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