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Barium study prep

Does Any one have Any idea about the barium studies upper GI and lower enema studies? The prep directions were very confusing and ofcourse I'll call the lab on Monday to clarify. But if anyone has been through it Any ideas on what I'm facing with a 2 year old?
For the barium swallow they take you back strap you to the table and get some "before" xrays.

Then you drink the barium. It's a very chalky tasting drink that can be hard for some to get down. I think MLP brings flavorings for her kid but not sure.

Next they strap you on the table and begin the xrays the table will move for positioning and you may be asked to moved as well. It takes anywhere from 30 mins to over an hour and is somewhat dependent on how long it takes tIL barium gets through system.

I'm not entirely certain how the barium enema test works because my son hasn't had to have that one.


Staff member
Yup Clash described it well. Except depending on how fast the Barium moves through your system, it can be a lot longer than one hour! It took at least 4 hours for us. M was doing an upper GI with small bowel follow through though.

They flavor the Barium at our Children's Hospital. My daughter had trouble drinking it, but managed eventually.

We haven't done a barium enema either.
Good luck!
Maya we're doing the small bowel follow through, should be interesting to see if a 2yr old is going to drink it and it's at a satellite office for the children's hospital. Thanks clash as well. Strapping a 2 yr old down should be not fun
My daughter had the small bowel barium study done at age 3. I wish I had good advice. It was a real trial to get her to drink it. Maybe you can take a candy bribe for after the test?

She still compares things to barium two years later. As in "At least it isn't as bad as barium."

Just bring your child's most favorite treat for later.

It only took them an hour to do the test for us.

Also they can insert an NG tube if your child refuses to drink entirely.
She still compares things to barium two years later. As in "At least it isn't as bad as barium."
My son as well and he was 14 at the time, calls it Satan's drink. GI was just talking about doing an MRE and even now at 16 he said only if there is something better then barium.

The nurse told him it tasted like blueberries, he didn't think so but it is super sweet and you have to drink it in a certain amount of time.

He was only able to get about 1/2 of it down but luckily they took him back to see if it was enough and it was.

Bring extra clothes in case she throws up, Jack threw up several times

Good luck!


Staff member
Ours was strawberry flavored. The first time M did it, she was 12 and refused to drink after a certain point. We had to bribe her and then she agreed to drink the rest. She was not strapped down for the test, but maybe that's because she was older and was able to lie still.

They said they prefer that kids drink it and don't use NG tubes because they like to see if they're able to swallow properly or if they have GERD etc. However, if he absolutely can't drink they'd probably use an NG tube.

Definitely bring those extra clothes! Also, have him drink a lot of water after the scan, to flush the barium out.

my little penguin

Staff member
We added kool aid singles for DS sbft and upper Gi series
Later with other things with barium ( mre etc..) they no longer let him have it flavored with kool aid.
His took way too long
Never did get it to the terminal illuem
Head radiologist came and they had him walk plus eat lunch still didn't work and he maxed out in X-rays well over 4 hours

At the end they couldn't tell us what was wrong but we're very confident they knew at least he didn't have crohns ( yeah they were wrong on that one scope two months later confirmed crohns throughout )

But a fan of upper Gi /sbft
Antiquated at best
Too much radiation and not clear images
DS had 15 X-rays that day I believe


Well-known member
Yeah according to T's MRE she didn't have Crohn's either...good thing scopes came first!

Someone on here mentioned that it is the same amount of stuff to drink for a 10 year old kid as a 200 pound man...I would check on that especially with a 2 year old.

Oh the other hint we got was to fast a good long while so the kids are hungry and they drink better.
I 3rd the bringing of a change of clothes! I tasted the barium for my sons MRE and didn't think it was that bad. But, even with water flavouring my son found it hard to get-and keep-down. Your might inquire about the NG tube.


Staff member
M's second small bowel follow through actually did show signs of Crohn's (pseudopolyp formation in TI), so I guess she is in the minority. I have no idea why her GI still uses it even though she says the MRE's are more accurate?!

Good luck! Let us know how it goes!
I'm surely not looking forward to this at all. I'm thinking we'll have to go the ng route. At this point I'm sure they'll tell us it's not crohns or uc I think our GI is looking for not of narrowing our constricting in the intestines but dance mom wasn't very fond of our GI so we'll see the while radiation thing is puzzling as in I want answers, but do I postpone the tests for a mre? I was lucky enough after trekking screaming and kicking to get these tests. Crap I already walked out of our children's hospital due to lack of knowledge and lagging on tests I feel backed into a corner and like everyone thinks she's fine due to her age and she has out of the box symptoms. Patiencei keep telling myself patience