Physicians giving you a better view of your health

Upper GI

What is an Upper GI?

An upper GI, also called gastrointestinal tract radiography, is an X-ray examination of the pharynx, esophagus, stomach and first part of the small intestine (also known as the duodenum) using a special form of X-ray called fluoroscopy and an orally ingested contrast material called barium. In addition to drinking barium, you may also be given baking-soda crystals (similar to Alka-Seltzer) to further improve the images. This procedure is called an air-contrast or double-contrast upper GI.

What are common reasons to have an Upper GI?

  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Chest and abdominal pain
  • Reflux (a backward flow of partially digested food and digestive juices)
  • Unexplained vomiting
  • Severe indigestion
  • Blood in the stool (indicating internal GI bleeding)
  • Ulcers
  • Tumors
  • Inflammation of the esophagus, stomach and duodenum
  • Hiatal hernias
  • Scarring
  • Blockages
  • Abnormalities of the muscular wall of GI tissues

Is there any preparation for the Upper GI procedure?

To ensure the best possible study, your stomach must be empty of food or liquid. Do not eat or drink anything (including chewing gum) after midnight on the day of the examination.

When can I resume my normal diet?

As soon as the study is completed, you may resume your normal diet. You should drink plenty of fluids to avoid becoming constipated