Upper GI and Small Bowel Follow Through
Your doctor has ordered an x-ray of your stomach and/or small bowel.
If you are an outpatient, the clinic will schedule the test for you. If you need to change or cancel
your exam, please call GI Radiology (608) 263-9729.
Tell your Local Doctor and Radiologist if
ξ You are or may be pregnant
ξ Have allergies to barium or preservatives
Ask your doctor if medicines you take can be taken after the test. If you are diabetic, talk with
your doctor about the dose you need to take the morning of your test.
Do not eat or drink anything after midnight before the test. Do not smoke, chew gum or
eat hard candy the morning of the exam
What Is an Upper GI and Small Bowel Follow Through?
An upper GI exam looks at the esophagus, stomach and duodenum (the first part of the small
bowel). A small bowel follow through looks at the rest of the small bowel. You will need to
drink barium as instructed during the procedure. Barium is a white, bland tasting liquid. You
may need to swallow small white granules with water to create air in the stomach. Some patients
require medicine to slow the stomach. You will need to change positions while they take x-rays
and the doctor may press on your belly to move the barium in your bowel. During the small
bowel follow through exam, several x-rays will be taken every 15 minutes to 1-hour until the
barium gets to the large bowel.
Please allow up to 1 hour for an Upper GI and 1-4 hours for a small bowel exam.
After the Exam
A report of the test results will be sent to your local doctor. He/she will talk with you about the
You may take a mild laxative to help you expel the barium or drink plenty of fluids. The color of
your bowel movements will be white for a day or two, until all the barium is out. You may go
back to your normal diet unless your doctor gives you other instructions.
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This
is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each
person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using
this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright ©1/2015. University of Wisconsin Hospitals
and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#4833.