Upper Gastrointestinal Series

ExitCare ImageAn upper gastrointestinal series is an X-ray test. This test checks for problems in the esophagus, stomach, and the first part of the small intestine (upper gastrointestinal tract).


  • Several days before the test, you may need to change what you eat. Follow your doctor's directions.

  • The night before the test, do not eat or drink anything after midnight.

  • Ask your doctor if you can take medicines you need with a sip of water.

  • If you have diabetes and need to take insulin, ask your doctor for instructions on how to do this before the test.


You will be awake during the test. You will not need pain medicine. The test takes about 1 hour.

  • You will drink barium. Barium is like a milkshake that tastes like chalk.

  • You may also swallow "fizzies" to put air in your stomach.

  • X-ray pictures will be taken. You may need to stand up or lie on a table. The table may move or tilt. You may need to turn from side to side.

  • The test is done when all the needed pictures have been taken.


  • You may go back to your normal diet and activities right away.

  • Ask when your test results will be ready. Follow up with your doctor to discuss your test results.