Small Bowel Series

Time Required:
1 to several hours

What is a Small Bowel Series?
A Small Bowel Series is an x-ray examination of the small intestine. The length of time required depends on how quickly your body transports the barium through the entire small intestine.

How do I prepare for my Small Bowel Series?
You should not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before your test.

What can I expect during the test?
You will be given barium liquid to drink. X-ray films will be taken at different intervals as the barium progresses through the small bowel. The examination is not complete until the barium fills the entire small bowel (it is about 25 feet long)! Sometimes this can take several hours.

What do I do after my Small Bowel Series?
After the Small Bowel Series, you may resume your routine diet and medications. You should also drink plenty of liquids. Your stool will be a whitish color until you have expelled all of the barium. If you experience constipation, you may need to take a mild laxative. Your doctor will discuss the test results with you.

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