Modified Barium Swallow
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
- Modified barium (BAR-e-um) swallow, also called MBS, is an x-ray procedure which uses barium to examine problems with swallowing. Liquid barium is a white, chalky contrast material that helps the esophagus (food pipe) show up better on x-ray. The esophagus is the tube that carries food and liquid from the throat to the stomach. With MBS, diseases and other problems that affect swallowing may be diagnosed. These may include cancer (tumor), strictures (narrowing), hernia (defective walls), or diverticuli (pouches in the esophageal wall). Other structures involved in swallowing may also be seen on a video screen while the procedure is taking place. These include the mouth, tongue, throat, and muscles in the upper, middle, or lower esophagus.
- An MBS may be done on an outpatient basis or while you are confined in the hospital. X-ray pictures are taken while drinking liquids and eating foods. Barium is mixed with liquids and foods, such as puddings or cookies, to show how they pass the esophagus. This may help check what liquids or foods are safe to swallow. MBS may also detect if food or liquids go into the larynx (windpipe) and lungs. With MBS, problems related to swallowing may be diagnosed, and proper treatment may be given.
Take your medicine as directed.
Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
- Enemas or laxatives: Barium may cause constipation (dry, hard stools) and block your colon if it is not passed out of your body. These medicines may be given to help you empty your bowel faster. Ask your caregiver for more information about these medicines.
- Stool softeners: This medicine makes it easier for you to have a bowel movement. You may need this medicine to treat or prevent constipation.
Ask for information about where and when to go for follow-up visits:
For continuing care, treatments, or home services, ask for more information.
- Ask your caregiver when you will get the results of your procedure.
- This is also called BM or having a stool. Your BM may be lightly-colored from the barium for 24 to 72 hours. You may also become constipated after having the procedure. Do not strain or push down hard while having a BM. Check your stool to make sure it is not colored black or has blood in it.
- Walking is the best way to get your bowels moving. Eat foods high in fiber to make it easier to have a BM. Good examples are high fiber cereals, beans, vegetables, and whole grain breads. Prune juice may help make the BM softer. Caregivers may give you fiber medicine or a stool softener to help make your BM softer and more regular. Ask your caregiver for more information about these medicines.
Eat healthy foods:
Choose healthy foods from all the food groups every day. Include whole-grain bread, cereal, rice, and pasta. Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, including dark green and orange vegetables. Include dairy products such as low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese. Choose protein sources, such as lean beef and chicken, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts. Ask how many servings of fats, oils, and sweets you should have each day, and if you need to be on a special diet.
Adults should drink about 9 to 13 cups of liquid each day. One cup is 8 ounces. Good choices of liquids for most people include water, juice, and milk. Coffee, soup, and fruit may be counted in your daily liquid amount. Ask your caregiver how much liquid you should drink each day.
Rest when you feel it is needed. Slowly start to do more each day. Return to your daily activities as directed.
CONTACT A CAREGIVER IF:
- You have a feeling of being too full or bloated.
- You have a fever.
- You have nausea (upset stomach) or vomiting (throwing up).
- You are unable to have a BM.
- Your stools are still light-colored and very thin like pencils.
- Your skin is itchy, swollen, or has a rash.
- You have questions or concerns about your procedure, condition, or care.
SEEK CARE IMMEDIATELY IF:
- You are not able to eat or drink, or are urinating less or not at all.
- You have problems moving your bowel or passing your urine.
- You have trouble breathing all of a sudden.
- Your abdomen becomes tender and hard.
- Your signs and symptoms are getting worse.
- Your stools are black or have bright red or dark blood in them.
- Your vomit (throw up) has blood or bile in it.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.