Lauren A Poliakin MD, FACS, DABOM


2750 Sycamore Drive, Ste 210
 Simi Valley, CA 93065

HCA Healthcare Magazine


                                     dox                                      link

Barium Swallow

A barium swallow is a diagnostic test that allows doctors to take X-rays of the esophagus. It is normally used to diagnose conditions in people experiencing digestive problems that may include the following symptoms:

  • Heartburn
  • Acid reflux
  • Severe indigestion
  • Unexplained weight loss

A barium swallow is used to diagnose various conditions that may include the following:

  • Ulcers
  • Polyps
  • Tumors
  • Gastroesophageal reflux diseases or GERD

The Barium Swallow Procedure

A patient ingests a solution containing barium which temporarily coats the lining of the esophagus. This allows the lining of the esophagus to be more clearly visible on an X-ray. As the barium travels through the digestive system, multiple x-rays are taken of the patient in various positions.

Complications of a Barium Swallow

A barium swallow is generally a safe procedure, however, possible complications may include:

  • An allergic reaction to the barium
  • Constipation

Patients are advised to drink plenty of fluids after the procedure to help flush the barium from their system as well as to eat a high fiber diet to avoid constipation. The physician will review the results of the barium swallow test for signs of abnormality to determine if further treatment is needed.

Additional Resources