McLaren Health Care
Small Bowel Series

Small Bowel Series

A Small Bowel Series is a diagnostic procedure, which includes swallowing barium to coat your gastrointestinal tract and x-rays to obtain clear pictures of your small bowel.

You will be asked to not eat, drink smoke or chew at least eight hours prior to the procedure.

You will need to wear a hospital gown, and a preliminary x-ray will be taken of your abdomen.

Before the Small Bowel Series

Blood thinners need to be checked prior to scheduling.

Preliminary film taken of the affected joint. Please bring previous x-rays of this joint to the exam. If you do not have access to your previous x-rays, preliminary images can be performed.

During the Small Bowel Series

You will be asked to drink two cups of barium. If you are also having an upper gastrointestinal series, you will drink another cup after your UGI films. The barium coats the walls of the small bowel so they can be seen under x-ray. - X-ray films will be taken at specific times as the barium travels through the small bowel until it reaches the large bowel or colon. That time period differs from person to person. Once the barium reaches the large bowel or colon, you will be placed onto the x-ray table and x-rays will be taken, after these are finished the exam is complete.

After the Small Bowel Series

You will be asked to drink plenty of fluids over the next few days to flush the barium out of your system. Some patients also like to take a mild laxative. Any white, chalky substances in your stool are from the barium. It is normal for your stool to appear white.

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