Barium meal

A barium meal is a special x-ray of the small bowel. You swallow a fluid that shows up white on an x-ray.
A barium meal is a special x-ray of the small bowel. It is sometimes called a barium x-ray, or barium follow-through. You have this in the hospital x-ray department.

For this test, it is important that your bowel is empty. This is so the doctors can see your bowel clearly. On the day before your test, you will usually be asked to take a laxative and drink plenty of fluids to help empty your bowel. Your hospital will give you instructions.

On the day of your barium x-ray, you should not eat or drink anything. You will be asked to drink a fluid that contains barium. This shows up white on an x-ray. A doctor called a radiologist will watch the barium pass through the whole of the small bowel on a screen to look for any abnormalities.

Do not worry if your poo is white for a couple of days after the test. This is the barium passing out of your body. The barium can also cause constipation, so you may need to take a mild laxative for a couple of days.