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Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2011
Total Posts : 26
   Posted 8/15/2011 9:05 PM (GMT -6)   
My doctor wants me to have a barium swallow/upper GI x ray instead of the endoscope because I have no health insurance. He cancelled the endoscope test. Does anyone have experience with the barium swallow? Do you think it is just as good as the endoscope?
I don't want to have the barium swallow done because I am afraid I will get sick from the drink.
I am not sure if I have GERD or gallbladder problems. My PPI medication is not really working.


Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2011
Total Posts : 463
   Posted 8/15/2011 11:54 PM (GMT -6)   

I have had this done quite a few times. It is a test that does give informative information & perhaps depending on the results your doctor may then request you to have the endoscopy. But hopefully with the barium test he will be able to find out what is going on or at least be able to rule out other possibilites. I know for me, I did quite a few barium drinking tests over the years prior to having an endoscopy.

Best of luck to you. I'm glad that your doctor is at least following-up with some kind of test.

Your Healingwell Friend,

ileostomy, pelvic/bladder trauma & dysfunction...15-different surgeries over the years

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7184
   Posted 8/16/2011 7:57 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi frus,

I worried that I would react badly to the liquid as well, but it's really not that bad. The flavor isn't bad at all. I don't think you'll have a problem.

A barium swallow is a great first step. It is non-invasive and will give your doctor some very good information. If it shows that it's necessary, then an endoscopy might be in order. Your doc is wise to take the upper GI step first.

Good luck!

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2011
Total Posts : 26
   Posted 8/21/2011 8:02 PM (GMT -6)   
I was unable to drink the barium for the upper GI test. The doctor who ordered it will not call me back regarding the next step. I don't think he wants to see me since I have no insurance. I still have stomach pain, sore throat, burping, and unable to eat. I guess the Dexilant is not working. I also tried Prilosec, Pepcid, and Prevacid. I can't get into the free GI clinic until mid Sept. My primary care physician will not treat me. He keeps telling me to go to the ER. ER doctors keep telling me to see a GI doctor or my primary care doctor.

I am still not sure what is causing my symptoms.

Does anyone have any suggestions?

Tandem Rider
Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2011
Total Posts : 122
   Posted 8/23/2011 6:42 AM (GMT -6)   
I had 5 upper GI scopes and each time I was told that I was normal. An ambulatory pH test showed that I had severe reflux. The barium swallow was done before my TIF surgery to see if I had any swallowing problems. The barium swallow test was not a problem for me.

mock turtle
Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2011
Total Posts : 467
   Posted 8/23/2011 1:33 PM (GMT -6)   
im not a big fan of the barium swallow...its essentially fluoroscopy, a movie made from xrays...but i recognize sometimes it is indicated if motility-function questions arise

too many in the medical profession are too deep into ionizing radiation imaging

btw after exposure to xrays taking anti oxidants at strong dosses reduces risk to radiation induced cancer

from pub med

"Antioxidants reduce consequences of radiation exposure.
Okunieff P, Swarts S, Keng P, Sun W, Wang W, Kim J, Yang S, Zhang H, Liu C, Williams JP, Huser AK, Zhang L.

Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, NY 14642, USA.

Antioxidants have been studied for their capacity to reduce the cytotoxic effects of radiation in normal tissues for at least 50 years. Early research identified sulfur-containing antioxidants as those with the most beneficial therapeutic ratio, even though these compounds have substantial toxicity when given in-vivo. Other antioxidant molecules (small molecules and enzymatic) have been studied for their capacity to prevent radiation toxicity both with regard to reduction of radiation-related cytotoxicity and for reduction of indirect radiation effects including long-term oxidative damage. Finally, categories of radiation protectors that are not primarily antioxidants, including those that act through acceleration of cell proliferation (e.g. growth factors), prevention of apoptosis, other cellular signaling effects (e.g. cytokine signal modifiers), or augmentation of DNA repair, all have direct or indirect effects on cellular redox state and levels of endogenous antioxidants. In this review we discuss what is known about the radioprotective properties of antioxidants, and what those properties tell us about the DNA and other cellular targets of radiation.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID: PMC2800038

Free PMC Article"
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