Small Bowel Series

What is a small bowel series?
A small bowel series is a procedure in which x-rays are performed on the small bowel, or small intestine. Typically, this procedure is combined with an upper GI series to evaluate the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum, in addition to the small intestine.

If you are complaining of certain abdominal symptoms such as pain, nausea, distention, and diarrhea, then Dr. Khorrami may recommend this procedure for you.

What can a small bowel series detect?
The purpose of the test is to detect certain disorders that may afflict the small intestine. Abnormalities evaluated with a small bowel series include:
  • Intestinal bleeding
  • Celiac Disease
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Intestinal obstructions
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Ulcers
  • Tumors
What to expect during a small bowel series?
You will be advised to stop eating for a period of time before you undergo your test. During the test the radiology technician will have you swallow a liquid called barium, which is used to enhance the x-rays taken from your small intestine. The x-rays will also be able to show the barium moving through your intestine. This helps determine whether or not your intestine is moving contents too quickly or too slowly, which could point to the cause of your digestive issues.

The test may take anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours to perform, depending on how fast the contrast moves through the intestines. You will have to follow specific instructions such as sitting, standing, or holding in your breath during parts of the examination.

When the test is complete, you will be advised to drink plenty of fluids in order to pass the barium through your digestive system. Do not be alarmed if you notice a brief period of diarrhea or if your stool looks different for a day or two, as the barium my change stool color.

Discuss Your Options with Dr. Khorrami
Dr. Khorrami has been in practice since 1996 as a double-board certified gastroenterologist and primary care physician, has experienced a variety of patient cases, and is well equipped to solve your digestive problems and general conditions. Get in touch to learn more about small bowel series and how you can benefit from it.


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About Dr. Khorrami

Dr. Payman Khorrami is a UCLA graduate, has been in practice since 1996, and is double board certified. Undergraduate Education at University of California, Berkeley, Medical School at University of California, San Francisco, Internal Medicine Training at University of California, San Diego Read Full Bio