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Upper GI Exam
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Upper GI Exam

An upper gastrointestinal (GI) exam uses x-rays to diagnose problems in the upper gastrointestinal system - the esophagus, the stomach and the first part of the small intestines. An Upper GI can show blockages, abnormal growths, ulcers or other problems.

Preparing for Your Upper GI

You must not eat or drink the night before your test, as food in your stomach may give a false reading on your x-rays. You may have a small amount of water to take any medications. An Upper GI takes about 30 minutes, but allow extra time to check in and change from your street clothes into a hospital gown.

Let the Technologist Know...

  • If you are pregnant or think you might be
  • When you last ate or drank
  • About previous surgery on your stomach

During Your Upper GI

You'll be asked to change from your street clothes into a hospital gown and pants. Our staff will position you on a special tilting table. You'll be asked to drink a special milkshake-like liquid that coats the inside lining of your upper gastrointestinal system and makes it show up more clearly on x-rays. You may also be asked to swallow "fizzies," a substance that makes air in your stomach. Try not to burp. You may be asked to turn from side to side and to occasionally hold your breath. You may have to wait briefly after your test to see if any more x-rays are necessary.

After Your Exam

You may return to work the same day and resume normal diet and activities. You should drink more water than usual to help relieve any constipation. It is normal for your stool to be discolored for a few days following the procedure. Your doctor will let you know when the results are in.