This is a type of x-ray test that helps to examine your throat, stomach esophagus and also the first part of your bowel.
To do a barium swallow, you swallow a chalky white substance known as barium. It’s often mixed with water to make a thick drink that looks like a milkshake. When it’s swallowed, this liquid coats the inside of your upper gastrointestinal tract (GI).
Some of the common problems that a barium swallow diagnose includes:
- Both cancerous and non-cancerous tumors
- Hiatal hernia
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Muscle disorders that could lead to difficulty in swallowing or spasms
What does a barium swallow taste like?
The barium you swallow is artificially flavored and sweetened. However, many people report that it tastes bitter or chalky.
After having a barium swallow or meal:
- You may feel bloated for a short while
- Your stools (bowel movements) may appear grey or white for a day or two
- You may feel constipated for a few days and need to take a mild laxative
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