Upper GI Series

An Upper GI Series is an x-ray exam of your upper digestive tract (the area from your mouth to the start of your small intestine). This test helps your doctor find problems such as ulcers, tumors and certain diseases.


  • Arrive 15 minutes prior to your exam with a prescription if your doctor has given you one.
  • Bring a list of current medications.
  • Adults: Nothing to eat or drink (including water) after midnight the night before the exam. No gum chewing or hard candy. No smoking of any kind.
  • Infants & Children: Bring bottle the infant will drink from
    • 0-6 months: Nothing by mouth for 2 hours prior to the examination.
    • 6 months – 1 year: Nothing by mouth for 3 hours prior to the examination.
    • 1-2 years: Nothing by mouth for 4 hours prior to the examination.
    • 2-16 years: Nothing by mouth including gum after midnight. 


  • You will drink barium (a liquid that improves x-ray images).
  • You also may swallow "air crystals,” a substance that makes air build up in your stomach. Do not burp, even if you feel you have to.     
  • You may need to stand or lie in different positions.
  • You will be asked to hold your breath for a short time during the x-ray.
  • This procedure takes about 45 minutes.
  • If you are having an Upper GI and Small Bowel series performed together, everyone’s bowels work differently and the movement of barium through the small bowel could take from 45 minutes to several hours; plan accordingly. 


  • Upper GI and Barium Enema cannot be performed the same day. There must be a five-day interval between the two exams. 
  • There are no issues having the Upper GI Series done together with an Esophagram or Small Bowel Series.
Take the next step
Let us help you schedule an appointment.

Schedule Appointment Online

If this is an emergency, call 911 or go to your nearest emergency department.

For your safety, please select a MyChart video visit on demand or call our MyCare Advice Line at 844-262-1949 before scheduling if:

  • You currently have a temperature greater than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit
  • In the past 21 days, you have been diagnosed with COVID-19
  • In the past 14 days, you have had contact with anyone diagnosed with COVID-19
  • You are experiencing a new loss of taste and/or sense of smell
  • If you have experienced two or more of the following symptoms in the last 3 days:
    • fever
    • chills
    • drenching sweats
    • new cough
    • shortness of breath
    • body aches
    • headache
    • sore throat
    • runny nose or nasal congestion
    • nausea/vomiting/diarrhea

Henry Ford Health System is committed to ensuring our Deaf or hard-of-hearing patients and visitors have equal access to all services. We provide the appropriate auxiliary aids and services, including qualified sign language interpreters, TTYs and other assistive listening devices, at no cost. To request assistance, call 313-916-1896 or email CommunicationAccess@hfhs.org.

Schedule Appointment for