Phone: (518) 793-1000
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Upper GI Series

What is an Upper GI Series Exam?

An upper GI Series is an x-ray exam of your upper digestive tract (the area from your mouth to the start of your small intestine). This helps diagnose any problems such as ulcers, tumors, acid reflux, and certain other diseases. There is a small amount of radiation with an upper GI series, but the benefits of this test far outweigh any risks.

Before Your Test

The success of your upper GI series depends on you. Stop eating and drinking the night before your test, as instructed. Food in your system could cause your test to be canceled. If you need to take medication, make sure your doctor knows. Also, try not to smoke the morning of the test. An upper GI series takes about 30 minutes.

Let the Technologist know:

  • When you last ate or drank
  • If you are pregnant or think you may be
  • Of any previous surgery
  • Of any medications you take

During Your Test

You will be asked to drink barium (a liquid that outlines the inside of your stomach on x-ray pictures). You also may swallow "fizzies," an effervescent powder that puts gas in your stomach to distend it. Try to avoid burping until the end of the test. For the best images, you may be asked to stand or lie in different positions. When it is time to take the x-rays, you will be asked to hold your breath for a moment. You may have to wait briefly after the test to make sure the images are satisfactory.

Approximate Exam Time: 30 minutes

After Your Test

You can get back to your normal diet and activities right away. But drink more water than usual. Water will help relieve any constipation you may have after this test. Your stool may appear white or light for a day or two.

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