Small bowel function test

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Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 53
   Posted 9/27/2007 7:56 AM (GMT -6)   
what is this? What are the after effects? I do not do well with colonoscopies-are they similar? I have one scheduled in 2 weeks. And, why does it take 2-5 hours?
Dx'd 5/07, pred, asacol, azasan
missing chocolate...

New Member

Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 9/30/2007 7:20 AM (GMT -6)   
I just had one of these on Friday. For me, they took an x-ray of my abdomen, then had me drink two cups of barium, then took another x-ray. I was then x-rayed about every fifteen minutes or so, so they could chart the progress of the solution through my small bowel. Took about 3 & 1/2 hours for me, the last 30 minutes of which they had me walking the building's halls between x-rays to speed up the barium's movement.

Overall pretty painless (for me at least). The barium doesn't taste good by any stretch, but as far as these things go it could be worse. I'd definately bring a book or something to read though as it can be pretty boring just sitting and waiting for the next x-ray.

As far as side effects go, I did have some stomach cramps to begin the day on Saturday, but they subsided for me once I was able to use the bathroom.

My understanding is that 2-5 hours is the general amount of time the barium takes to travel through to your colon.

Post Edited (atxbomber) : 9/30/2007 6:25:48 AM (GMT-6)

Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 182
   Posted 9/30/2007 5:54 PM (GMT -6)   

They have to say 2-5 hrs. But really it depends on who you are and your body. Honestly, a lot of us living with Crohn's do NOT take as long as others. I just had this test 3 months ago and I was in and out in an hour. It was weird because I was expecting like 3 hours at least. In between x-rays, I highly recommend bringing a book, i-pod, or magazine to read in between x-rays. It can be boring! BUT I recommend walking around (even if you are in a small area) because this can make the Barium go through your body (colon and intestines) a lot faster. That is the idea and this is why it can take so long. NO it is not smiliar to a colonoscopy @ all. The barium tastes nasty but it could be a lot worse. Just drink it fast and get it over with and think happy thoughts while you drink it. The faster you drink it the faster you will be done.

The barium can cause some cramping, constipation OR maybe diarrhea! Drink LOTS AND LOTS of water right after your apt. for a good 24hrs. and you may be just fine!

But like I said before everyone is different so you really don't know how long it will take until you are done. BUT the radiologists will let you know how far it is after each x ray if you are interested! Ask lots of questions. They will even show you the pics of it going through you if you ask. Sorta cool b cause then you can see how far it has gone............

Good Luck!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 565
   Posted 9/30/2007 6:25 PM (GMT -6)   
my sbft went very well. i was in and out in just under 2 hours, i think my flare up kept things moving fast ;) and yes, drink LOTS of water to clear the barium from your system, it can wreck some havoc on your body. it's a pretty chalky barium, different from the ct scan barium. one of the easiest tests for sure :)

good luck!
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