An upper GI and small bowel series is a set of x-rays taken to examine the esophagus, stomach, and small intestine.
Barium enema is a related test.
GI series; Barium swallow x-ray; Upper GI series
How the Test is Performed
An upper GI and small bowel series is done in a health care office or hospital radiology department.
You may get an injection of a medicine that slows muscle movement in the small intestine. This makes it easier to see the structures of your organs on the x-rays.
Before the x-rays are taken, you must drink 16 to 20 ounces (480 to 600 milliliters) of a milkshake-like drink. The drink contains a substance called barium, which shows up well on x-rays.
An x-ray method called fluoroscopy tracks how the barium moves through your esophagus, stomach, and small intestine. Pictures are taken while you sit or stand in different positions.
The test most often takes around 3 hours but can take as long as 6 hours to complete.
A GI series may include this test or a barium enema.