Upper Gastrointestinal X-ray (Upper GI)

An upper GI X-ray looks at the esophagus and the stomach to detect abnormalities that may be causing difficulty swallowing. It also looks at the stomach for abnormalities such as ulcers, hiatal hernias or tumors.

We will be using radiation for this exam. Please notify your doctor if you are pregnant.

Before Your Procedure

  • Do not eat or drink after midnight.
  • You may take your medications with a sip of water up until 4 hours before your exam.
  • If you are diabetic, please discuss the use of your diabetic medications with your doctor.

During Your Procedure

  • You will drink barium, a thick white liquid.
  • X-rays are taken as you drink the barium.
  • Sometimes you are also asked to swallow crystals that will form gas to expand your stomach.

After Your Procedure

  • You may resume your regular diet.
  • Your stools may be light colored or chalky, this is normal.
  • Drink plenty of fluids (if you are not on fluid restriction) to help move the barium through your system, otherwise you may become constipated. If you have not had a bowel movement in three days, contact your doctor. You may be advised to use a laxative.
  • Your doctor will be contacted with the results of your test and will discuss the results with you.

Providing safe, quality patient care is our highest priority. To help ensure quality and safety, we ask that you do not bring young children with you to your appointments, as children are not allowed to accompany you during Imaging procedures. Staff is unable to monitor your child in your absence.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your provider.

Back to Imaging Patient Instructions

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

CentraCare care givers have been working around the clock for more than 20 months to care for you, your families and friends during COVID. We are committed to caring for every Minnesotan who needs us, and nothing will prevent us from doing so – even during these never-seen-before times.

The challenge of providing this level of care is that our hospital beds are often full. ERs in all of our hospitals are packed. And our clinical teams are exhausted. Early in the pandemic, our community stepped up in amazing ways to help us. We ask that you again join us in fighting this pandemic together.

How can you help?

  • Please get your COVID vaccines and booster shots. They are proven safe and effective in reducing COVID illness, keeping people out of the hospital, and preventing death.
  • If your situation is not an emergency, please use other care options, including:
  • If this is a medical emergency, call 9-1-1, or visit the ER.

Together, we can do this. Thank you for your support.

Ken Holmen, MD
President and CEO