Re: Newbie - Getting an Upper Gi w/KUB (Air Contrast)
The upper GI can show ulcers, gastritis (irritation of the stomach lining), and other abnormalities of the stomach wall. It will also show if you have any reflux of stomach contents into your esophagus.
The test is not particularly pleasant, but it gives them good information. At the start, they give you this little cup of powder that you have to throw down and swallow with like a thimble full of water, and it makes all this gas that you aren't supposed to burp up. Then immediately you have to chug the barium. But after that part, I felt better in a few minutes and I even got to see the monitor at some points, which was really neat. I felt fine once the first part was over, and didn't have any other problems, so I guess 5 minutes of discomfort isn't too bad.
They need the air in your stomach so that the walls of the stomach aren't all laying right next to each other so they can actually see the features of the walls. Then the barium is really thick and coats the walls of the esophagus and stomach. It shows up on the x-rays, so it isn't actually the wall of the stomach that they are looking at, but the barium on the wall of the stomach. Oh, so the first part they do with you standing up so they can watch you swallow, then they have you lay down and roll over a lot. Somewhere in the middle of all that rolling, they give you more barium to drink, but it's a lot thinner. So then while you are laying down they watch this thinner fluid to see if it refluxes into the esophagus.
So hopefully the test goes well and you will get some insight into your problems! My test was performed by a radiologist, so he was able to tell me his initial impressions at the time of the test, but that might depend on the policies of the testing center.