Colonoscopy is usually the preferred test to examine the digestive tract. However, there are several commonly performed X-ray tests that allow your doctor to examine your digestive tract from the esophagus to the rectum.
These tests utilize barium or an iodine-containing agent that allows visualization of the digestive tract and a form of X-ray machine called fluoroscopy. Fluoroscopy allows part of the body to be studied in motion and recorded on a video monitor.
Your bowels are made up of two parts -- the large intestine, also called the colon, and the small intestine. Short bowel syndrome usually affects people who’ve had a lot of their small intestine removed. Without this part, your body can’t get enough nutrients and water from the food you eat. This causes bowel troubles, like diarrhea, which can be dangerous if you go without treatment.
If you learn you have short bowel syndrome, know that doctors can do a lot of things to ease your symptoms and make...
Fluoroscopic examinations of your GI tract may be performed in a doctor's office, a commercial X-ray facility, or a hospital. These tests are called an "upper GI" or "lower GI," depending on the organs being examined.
Upper GI Tests
Upper GI tests use X-rays to examine the esophagus, stomach, and first part of the small intestine (the duodenum).
For these tests, you need to drink barium. As the barium passes through the digestive tract, it fills and coats the esophagus, stomach, and first part of the small intestine, making them more visible with X-ray. Then a fluoroscope machine is held over the part of the body being examined and transmits continuous images to a video monitor.