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.


  • You will drink barium (a liquid that improves x-ray images).
  • You also may swallow "fizzies," 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.


  • 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.
  • Children (>2 years): Nothing to eat or drink (including water) after midnight the night before the exam. No gum chewing or hard candy.
  • Infants: Must be hungry enough to drink. Bring bottle the infant will drink from.
    • 0-6 months: Nothing to eat or drink two hours prior to the exam.
    • 6 months – 2 years: No liquids 4 hours prior to the exam, and no solids after midnight the night before the exam.


  • If you are also having a Barium Enema performed, this exam must be done at least five days after.
  • There are no issues having the Upper GI Series done together with an Esophagram or Small Bowel Series.
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