Barium Meal & follow through

The Birmingham Bowel Clinic offers a complete barium fluoroscopy service. Barium, a white powder, has long been used mixed with water, as a contrast medium to demonstrate the bowel on X-rays. Barium outlines the lining of the bowel allowing it to be visualized on X rays.


What is a Barium meal & follow through?

This is an X ray test to look at the oesophagus (gullet), stomach, duodenum and small bowel. Barium is mixed with water to make a solution that you drink to allow us to see the bowel. As the barium flows through your bowel we take a number of X rays to show it. At the very end we may screen the last area to get more detailed pictures. We often perform this investigation for a number of reasons including heartburn, reflux, pain on eating, weight loss, irritable bowel and abdominal pain.


Is there any preparation?

It is important that you have an empty stomach to allow the barium to flow quickly into the small bowel. We ask that you do not eat or drink anything for 4-6 hours before the examination. You may take your normal medications.


What does the barium meal & follow through involve?

You will be asked to remove some of your clothes and wear a hospital gown. If the doctors are concerned about your gullet then pictures, X rays, are taken as you during the barium, however, more commonly you dink a few cups of barium and we take picture every 15minutes. It depends on how quick the barium flows through your bowel but if often takes two hours.

Get in Touch

* required field