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Health A-Z

Medical Content Created by the Faculty of the
Harvard Medical School

Barium Swallow (upper gastrointestinal series or "upper gi series")

How Do I Prepare?

Tell your doctor and the x-ray technicians if there is any chance you could be pregnant. If you have diabetes and take insulin, discuss this with your doctor before the test.

Stop eating and drinking the night before your test. This is important because food in your stomach or intestine could prevent the doctors from seeing a clear outline of these structures on the x-rays. Usually it isn't a problem for you to take your regular pills, but you should check with your doctor.

From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

You can find more great health information on the Harvard Health Publications website.