Upper GI with Small Bowel Study

What: This is a diagnostic study using X-rays of the esophagus, stomach and small bowel (Duodenum, Jejunum, and Ileum) with barium, air or both.

What to expect: Plan to spend up to five hours at the clinic. You will begin this study in a standing position and asked to drink carbonation crystals. As the examination progresses, you will be asked to drink barium in different positions standing and laying down on the x-ray table. The Radiologist’s Assistant will watch you swallow the barium and will take images as it travels to your stomach.

During the process, you may be asked to turn from side to side, roll over, hold your breath, and hold different positions. This enables the Radiologist’s Assistant to capture views from several angles. For the small bowel examination, the a technologist will take a series of X-rays at 20-minute intervals until the barium has moved through the small intestine.


  • Have only a clear liquid lunch the day prior to your exam and clear liquids after that, all the way up to midnight.
  • After midnight, have nothing to eat, drink, or smoke.
  • Patients under five years of age should have nothing to eat or drink four hours prior to exam.
  • Patients who will have an upper GI and small bowel series of exams and have been constipated should take two Ducolax tablets two days prior to your exam (barium only).
  • Bring prescribed medications with you the day of your study to take after the exam.