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1. Barium study
Barium is opaque to x-ray. In a barium study, the gastrointestinal (GI) tract is filled with barium before an x-ray is taken. Upper GI Series: * the procedure: Upper GI series involves the swallowing of barium containing liquid before x-ray is taken. The organs examined are: throat, esophagus, stomach and small bowel to diagnose esophageal cancer, reflux, hiatus hernia, gastric cancer, gastritis, and peptic ulcers. * alternative courses of action: gastroscopy, CT of chest and upper abdomen * material effects, risks and side effects: aspiration of the barium; constipation or obstruction of the bowel if the barium dries up inside the small and large intestines. Barium Enema: * the procedure: Barium enema (also known as lower GI series) involves the introduction of barium containing fluid via the rectum to diagnose rectal cancer, diverticular diseases, and polyps. * alternative courses of action: sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy, CT scan of abdomen and pelvis * material effects, risks and side effects: fasting and cleaning the bowel with fluid and medication; sensation of bloating and potential of perforation of the colon during the procedure; barium stool impaction after the procedure.

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