Thursday, July 13, 2017 –
A swallow study…have you had one? Chances are if you haven’t had one yet, your doctor will probably order one in the future.
If you’ve had extensive battles (aka test and arguments with doctors), trying to get to the bottom of what’s causing all of your symptoms and make you feel like crap; like I have, you’re probably wondering the same thing I am. Why do they keep making us eat and drink things for these tests when our whole problem is the lack of being about to do that in the first place!
About four months ago I had to undergo my second swallow study. This time around was a million times worse than the first time. In February of this year, my flares jumped to all new heights. They were intense and longer lasting and ultimately more resilient to my routine methods of controlling the symptoms and making it through a flare up with the least amount of damage caused to my body as possible.
A swallow study can tell a doctor a lot about your digestive tract, but as GP patients the two main components they’re looking for are: one an obstruction from constipation and the inability to digest/empty and second how long it tasks for the nasty, chalky contrast you drink to move from the beginning of your digestive tract (mouth) to your small intestines.
Any structural issues are easy for the radiologist to notice because of the “glowing” barium cocktail. You first begin by drinking a certain amount of the mixture and then lay on a table with a large square machine taking pictures every 15 minutes.
Take my advice and make sure to take some anti-nausea medicine about 30 minutes before the test.
An upper GI test could also be the golden ticket for diagnosing your possible gastroparesis; based on the amount of time it takes for the barium to leave the stomach.
What is Barium?
Barium sulfate (the proper name), is a metallic compound that shows up on x-rays.
Barium is generally a safe test, but like any procedure, there are occasionally complications and risks. Possible complications could be:
• Allergic reaction or anaphylaxis may occur in people who are allergic to the barium solution
• Constipation may develop
• You may accidentally get barium into the trachea (windpipe). The medical term for this is an aspiration.
Additional Problems That Can Be Detected With A Barium Swallow Study
• Narrowing or irritation of the esophagus
• Disorders of swallowing spasms
• Hiatal hernia, an internal defect that causes the stomach to slide partially into the chest
• Abnormally enlarged veins in the esophagus (varices)
If you have any questions or would like to share your experience with an Upper GI Test, please comment below.
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