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Lower GI Series in Illinois

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A lower GI series is an exam of the large intestine using an x-ray to locate problems that might be affecting the colon or rectum. A lower GI series, also known as a barium enema, fills the large intestine with barium liquid so that any issues with the large intestine will be visible to your GI Alliance of Illinois provider. A lower GI series can help determine the cause of many symptoms including:

  • Rectal bleeding
  • Abdominal pain
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Diarrhea
  • Bowel changes

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms and would like more information on having a lower GI series in Chicago, IL, Peoria, IL, or Bloomington, IL, please contact your local GI Alliance of Illinois provider to request a consultation.

Prior to your lower GI series, your GI Alliance of Illinois provider will give you specific instructions on what to do to prepare for your procedure. Generally, those instructions will include maintaining a clear liquid diet for 1 – 3 days before the exam. You will also be asked to take a laxative to empty your intestines of all solids. If further instructions are needed, they will be given to you during your one-on-one consultation before the procedure. During this consultation, it is very important to inform your provider if you think you may be pregnant, have any allergies, or have had another barium test recently.

On the day of the exam, you will be asked to lie on the x-ray table while a lubricated tube is inserted into the anus. The tube is then filled with the barium liquid and a small balloon is placed in the anal sphincter to ensure that the barium does not leak out. You may feel some pressure and discomfort and the need to have a bowel movement due to the placement of the balloon; however, tightening your anal sphincter, and breathing slowly may help with this discomfort. During the test, you will be asked to remain still in various positions, including on your sides, back, and front, so the barium can flow through your colon. The exam will last between 30 – 60 minutes and once complete, the barium will be drained. If needed, an enema may be used to flush out any remaining barium. If you have further questions or concerns regarding the lower GI series, please contact your local GI Alliance of Illinois provider.

After the exam is complete, you will be able to return to a normal diet unless instructed otherwise by your provider. The official test results from your lower GI series will be given to your GI Alliance of Illinois provider usually within 7 – 10 days following the procedure. Although rare, intestines can become blocked by barium following a lower GI series. These symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Inability to pass gas
  • Inability to have a bowel movement within two days of the procedure
  • Severe abdominal pain

If you are experiencing any of the rare symptoms listed above following your barium enema, seek medical help immediately as this can be a serious and life-threatening condition.

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If you are experiencing GI issues and your symptoms indicate that it might be related to the large intestine, a lower GI series might be the right test to diagnose the problem. At GI Alliance of Illinois, we care about your gastrointestinal health and are here to answer any questions you may have about possible treatment options. To learn more about the lower GI series and to find out if it might be beneficial in the diagnosis and aid in the treatment of the conditions affecting your large intestine, contact a local Chicago, IL, Peoria, IL, or Bloomington, IL, provider near you.

Very professional and personable.

D.W. Google

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!

M.K. Google

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.

T.R. Google

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.

J.H. Google

Great doctor. Professional, attentive, and knowledgeable. Feel at ease under his care.

J.R. Google


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