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Old 04-11-2008, 12:58 PM   #1
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Scared of Upper GI/Barium swallow

To make a long story short, I've been chronically nauseated for about 14 years now with no known cause. Six months ago I had "minor" surgery and got c-diff twice from having been on 2 rounds of high dose broad spectrum antibiotics. So that was 2 more rounds of AB's for the c-diff. Since then I've had severe, disabling stomach pain and nausea, though I no longer have c-diff. I'm now on my third gastroenterologist -- this one actually is nice and is willing to work with me. She thinks I have gastritis from all the AB's and has me on meds for that, but is concerned about my high lvl of nausea and wants to do an Upper GI (and possibly an endoscopy, but we're not there yet). I agreed to it, but I'm terrified.

1. I'm really bad at drinking non-clear liquids. I gag a lot on things at random anyway, but I have a really hard time getting down think liquids and pretty much as soon as they hit my stomach I start to feel nauseated. I told her there'd been an attempt at this in the past but I couldn't drink the barium and she said the stuff is better now and can be thinned if I need it to be.

2. I'm also afraid that it's going to make me MORE nauseated than I already am, and it's already at an intolerable level. To make things more complicated, I have a vomiting phobia and I am afraid it's going to make me sick. The doctor doesn't know about the phobia because past experience has taught me that as soon as they know, all your problems end up being "in your head" and I need treatment for the pain.

3. My third concern is that I've had to drink contrast material twice in the past for CT scans when I had appendicitis, and it caused nearly instant diarrhea. While this is less concerning than the other two, I'd like to know what I'm in for so I can plan for it. The doc said it's much more likely to cause constipation.

I'd appreciate any advice/experience/words of wisdom anyone may have who has been through this. Thanks.

 
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Old 04-18-2008, 10:22 AM   #2
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Re: Scared of Upper GI/Barium swallow

I'm officially scheduled for next Friday if anyone could still weigh in on this I would appreciate it.

 
Old 04-18-2008, 11:48 AM   #3
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Re: Scared of Upper GI/Barium swallow

I would ask them if they could just do it through IV. When I was in the hospital due to my gallbladder (I had similar symptoms, nausea when I ate, and drank. But I couldn't keep any food down). They tried the barium swallow but I ended up throwing it up. I told them it wouldn't work, but they didn't listen I'm not sure if it infringes on the results, but they seemed to be able to get what they needed for me. I'm sorry about your C-Diff, I had that while I was in the hospital again, not something I would care to repeat.

 
Old 04-18-2008, 11:58 AM   #4
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Re: Scared of Upper GI/Barium swallow

Quote:
Originally Posted by rmv1983 View Post
I would ask them if they could just do it through IV. When I was in the hospital due to my gallbladder (I had similar symptoms, nausea when I ate, and drank. But I couldn't keep any food down). They tried the barium swallow but I ended up throwing it up. I told them it wouldn't work, but they didn't listen I'm not sure if it infringes on the results, but they seemed to be able to get what they needed for me. I'm sorry about your C-Diff, I had that while I was in the hospital again, not something I would care to repeat.
Can't do IV because they're looking at gastric motility. Thanks though.

Last edited by WarGerbil; 04-18-2008 at 11:58 AM.

 
Old 04-19-2008, 12:00 AM   #5
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Re: Scared of Upper GI/Barium swallow

I just had it done in February. Don't let them fool you on the taste. It is digusting. I don't know if they thin it down or not. I am post gastric bypass so that was not an option. It was even worse for me because I had to hold it in my mouth and swallow slowly. I just closed my eyes and kept drinking each time they made me. The tech was very nice and worked with me. So it is probably not as bad as you think.

I did get diareah (sp?) after. They told me I had to wait 20 minutes and do another xray. Not normal but the Dr. wanted it. So in the hospital it hit me. The tech said it was actually good because it meant no obstructions.

The Endoscope is nothing. They put you out. I've had it done about 6 times. No problems.

You will do fine. Just drink it fast like they want. It was hard. I just kept doing it and telling myself it was almost over. Good luck with the test.

Hope I did not scare you. Just wanted to be honest so you don't go in thinking it is nothing.

 
Old 04-19-2008, 07:20 AM   #6
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Re: Scared of Upper GI/Barium swallow

Quote:
Originally Posted by hessie28 View Post
I just had it done in February. Don't let them fool you on the taste. It is digusting. I don't know if they thin it down or not. I am post gastric bypass so that was not an option. It was even worse for me because I had to hold it in my mouth and swallow slowly. I just closed my eyes and kept drinking each time they made me. The tech was very nice and worked with me. So it is probably not as bad as you think.

I did get diareah (sp?) after. They told me I had to wait 20 minutes and do another xray. Not normal but the Dr. wanted it. So in the hospital it hit me. The tech said it was actually good because it meant no obstructions.

The Endoscope is nothing. They put you out. I've had it done about 6 times. No problems.

You will do fine. Just drink it fast like they want. It was hard. I just kept doing it and telling myself it was almost over. Good luck with the test.

Hope I did not scare you. Just wanted to be honest so you don't go in thinking it is nothing.
I'd rather hear peoples' experiences than not. I find out now I have to do the small bowel follow through and I think possibly having diarrhea from contrast stuff may be my only saving grace cause I won't have to be there drinking barium every 15 minutes for 5 hrs if it went right through me :P

 
Old 04-19-2008, 04:12 PM   #7
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Re: Scared of Upper GI/Barium swallow

I had the endo and colonoscopy in March. No sweat. You have no idea. You wake up and feel like you never had it done. The fleet prep you drink is not that bad ,I was able to mix with sprite. Do not worry, It was a breeze. I too was terrified before the procedure but it went great.

 
Old 04-19-2008, 07:58 PM   #8
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Re: Scared of Upper GI/Barium swallow

Quote:
Originally Posted by WarGerbil View Post
I'd rather hear peoples' experiences than not. I find out now I have to do the small bowel follow through and I think possibly having diarrhea from contrast stuff may be my only saving grace cause I won't have to be there drinking barium every 15 minutes for 5 hrs if it went right through me :P
Mine was actually an Upper GI, Small Bowel Series. I got to watch it on the little t.v. screen so that was cool. They had a Dr. do it too so got the results immediately. No waiting game. Good luck with the test. You will do fine.

 
Old 04-25-2008, 09:45 PM   #9
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Re: Scared of Upper GI/Barium swallow

In case anyone is searching for this answer in the future -- It wasn't that bad.

The barium was barely chalky. The worst part was the fizzy crystals (my stomach is intolerant of fullness right now, so that was sudden pain for me when my stomach inflated) and the first bit of barium which was the consistency of thick pepto bismol. I only took four swallows of that with a straw, and they asked if I could drink more, and I said no, and they said ok. (It was that easy) Then they lowered the table to horozontal, made me roll around a bunch to spread the stuff out, and positioned me and gave me more (thinned a LOT) to drink and I just had to take a few more sips. I felt much better when that was over and I could belch (though yow the bubbles in my nose stung!! haha). I then was given a second cup that I had to finish to do the small bowel follow through, and they had thinned that a bunch for me too so it was the consistency of whole milk. It wasn't delicious, it had a weird berry-banana-watermelon mix flavor (which they asked if I wanted chocolate syrup in -- um, ew?), and I was still full of a lot of air so I had to belch, take a sip, get a little queasy, wait, belch, feel a little better, take a sip, etc.. until it was gone. Then it was just waiting for xrays. In the end I got to watch as the tech mushed my guts around with a ball on a paddle, and I've had a LOT of abdominal pain and had anxiety about that, but it didn't hurt. It was uncomfortable, but not unbearably so and at that point you're so ready to leave you'll let them do nearly anything.

So yep, all done. My doc will get results in a week. Haven't had any of it come back out yet, and I'm now feeling kind of bloated and heavy, but I'm drinking my water and I had tea-and-fiber tonight so I'm hoping it'll work its way out soon. I hope this helps someone else in my situation in the future.

 
Old 04-26-2008, 07:37 PM   #10
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Re: Scared of Upper GI/Barium swallow

wish they'd tell you to bring a toothbrush to clean that crap off your teeth. The taste isn't that bad, but its thick. I had gas pains too from the fizzy stuff. It kind of hurt the whole way home and I wish I had been warned of that.

 
Old 05-01-2008, 08:26 AM   #11
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Re: Scared of Upper GI/Barium swallow

Quote:
Originally Posted by peacefrog View Post
wish they'd tell you to bring a toothbrush to clean that crap off your teeth. The taste isn't that bad, but its thick. I had gas pains too from the fizzy stuff. It kind of hurt the whole way home and I wish I had been warned of that.
I used a straw and sucked it to the back of my tongue and swallowed so it didn't touch my teeth at all.

I wish they'd told me that despite drinking tons of water, the barium may not pass on its own. I finished drinking at 10 am Friday, and I didn't have a bowel movement until 3 am Wednesday (and that only happened after 2 doses of correctol, 3 doses of miralax, and a bottle of magnesium citrate -- all by doctor's orders and not all at once, btw.. this was over the course of 3 days). All that time I was in a lot of pain, and had a lot of nausea, and couldn't eat. So I wish they would have just told me to start taking miralax right after the procedure or something. Ugh.

 
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