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Upper GI Series

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 test helps your doctor find problems such as ulcers, tumors, and certain diseases.

Man lying on back on table under x-ray machine. Healthcare provider is preparing for x-ray.

Before Your Test

  • Stop eating and drinking 8 hours before your test.

  • Be sure to mention the medications you take and ask if it’s okay to take them before your test.

  • Do not smoke the morning of the test.

  • The test takes 30–60 minutes. Allow extra time to check in.

Let the technologist know if:

  • You have any allergies

  • You ate or drank within the last 8  hours

  • You’re pregnant or think you may be

  • You’ve had any previous surgery

  • You take any medications

During Your Test

  • You will drink barium (a liquid that improves x-ray images).

  • You also may swallow “fizzies,” a substance that makes air build up in your stomach. Don’t burp, even if you feel you have to.

  • You may need to stand or lie in different positions.

  • You will be asked to hold your breath for a short time during the x-ray.

After Your Test

  • Your stool may appear white or lighter than normal.

  • Your doctor will discuss the test results with you during a follow-up appointment or over the phone.

  • Your next appointment is:__________________


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