Barium swallow and Barium meal

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:

  • Inflammations
  • Blockages
  • Ulcers
  • 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.

Side effects:

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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