Barium Studies of the Intestines in Illinois
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What is barium?
Barium is an iodine-containing contrast agent that patients ingest to coat their intestinal tract. Afterward, x-rays can be taken of the intestines to check for abnormalities such as ulcers, tumors, inflammation, and more. Barium allows the providers at GI Alliance of Illinois to get a good look at the inner workings of your GI tract so we can provide an in-depth treatment plan that can help you maintain your GI health. For more information or to request a consultation, contact your nearest Chicago, IL, Peoria, IL, or Bloomington, IL, location today.
What is an upper gastrointestinal and small bowel series?
An upper GI series will involve taking x-rays of areas such as the esophagus, the stomach, and the small intestines. During this exam, we use the barium liquid to help identify ulcers, certain types of cancer, and more.
The small bowel series, on the other hand, is an x-ray that uses barium sulfate to look at the small intestine. A small bowel series may follow an upper GI series. Oftentimes, it lasts 1.5 – 3 hours or longer depending on how long it takes the barium sulfate contrast to move throughout the intestines.
For more information on the upper GI or small bowel series in Illinois, request a consultation with one of our skilled gastroenterologists. Our team of knowledgeable providers can help you feel at ease.
What is a barium enema?
A barium enema is an x-ray of the colon after barium liquid is introduced into the GI tract to give our providers a better look. Barium enema exams are capable of detecting colon cancer, inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, and more.
How do I prepare for barium tests?
To prepare for your barium testing, we ask that you do not eat or drink anything after midnight on the day of your exam. If you have a medication that is required prior to your exam, you should take it with a small sip of water. For those that are diabetic and cannot fast, our radiology department will work with you to ensure your testing runs as smoothly and safely as possible.
If you are having a barium enema, we will have you take a bowel preparation the day leading up to your exam to maximize our image results. If you have any other questions about barium testing, our team at GI Alliance of Illinois is happy to help.
How is the test performed?
Although they vary from patient to patient, the upper GI and small bowel series usually involve drinking a barium contrast medium. In some cases, we may give you a carbonated drink to produce gas, which will also help show contrast on the x-ray machine. We will take x-rays in the standing and lying positions as this will help show the flow of the barium.
During a barium enema, the barium liquid will be introduced into the colon followed by insufflation of air. From there, we will take x-rays in a number of positions.
The upper GI and small bowel testing typically takes between 2 – 4 hours, whereas the barium enema takes between 1 – 2 hours.
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What should I expect after the exam?
After your barium exam, feel free to resume your normal activities. However, we suggest you drink 4 – 6 extra glasses of water or another liquid throughout the day. If you have any questions about what to expect after your exam, please feel free to ask during your initial consultation, before your treatment, or after.
Get the testing you need
If you or a loved one are having gastrointestinal issues, you may experience pain or other discomforts throughout your abdomen and other areas. At GI Alliance of Illinois, it is our desire to help our Illinois patients find relief from GI issues so they can live worry-free. In the case that testing needs to be done, we may recommend an upper GI or small bowel series or a barium enema. These tests can help us get a good look at the intestines and bowel to diagnose issues such as ulcers, tumors, inflammation, and more. For more information or to schedule a GI exam today, contact your nearest GI Alliance of Illinois location.
Very professional and personable.
The staff was friendly and efficient. Amy S. was wonderful and caring and remembered details of my issues without digging through notes. She spent enough time with me to develop a plan of action that included my input. She is great!
The staff is always welcoming & professional. PA Amy takes time to listen to my issues, ask questions and offer possible solutions. She orders appropriate diagnostic tests at a convenient location for me. They follow up with results.
Dr.Arndt is an excellent physician who provides great care for his GI patients. His interpersonal skills and ability to explain causes and solutions for conditions in easy to understand terms are fantastic. Thank you for all your great care.
Great doctor. Professional, attentive, and knowledgeable. Feel at ease under his care.