Gastrointestinal and Genitourinary Exams

GI (gastrointestinal) exams are x-rays of the upper and lower digestive system. The upper GI looks at the esophagus and stomach. The small bowel series looks at the small intestine. The barium enema looks at the colon. GU (Genitourinary) exams are x-rays of the urinary tract system (kidney, ureter and bladder).

Scheduling and Pre-Registration

  • GI/GU appointments are scheduled M-F from 7:30am to 11:15am. GI/GU exams are by appointment only and are scheduled by your referring physician.

  • Please make sure to pre-register for your exam prior to your arrival. To pre-register or to reschedule your GI/GU exam, please call Radiology Scheduling at 314-362-7111 or 877-992-7111, M-F from 7:00am to 5:30pm.

Before Your GI/GU Exam

  • Please arrive at least 15 minutes prior to your appointment to allow for registration time.

  • Please bring a photo ID (driver’s license or state ID), insurance card(s), and a completed Medication Record with you to your appointment.

  • Take your medication as you normally do, unless your referring physician has told you otherwise.

  • For an upper GI, small bowel series, or barium swallow exam you should not smoke, eat, or drink after midnight prior to your appointment.

  • For a barium enema, you will need to purchase a “prep kit.” Your referring physician’s office will give you step by step instructions for preparation for your exam.

  • You will be given a hospital gown to wear during the exam.

  • Some GI/GU exams require a contrast to make parts of your body display more clearly. For small bowel series and barium enema exams, barium or a water soluble agent is used as the contrast. For GU exams, a contrast is generally administered through a catheter.

  • Any unusual symptoms you experience after you receive the contrast should be reported to the technologist immediately.

  • In rare cases, some people have an allergic reaction to the contrast. By having your procedure at a Barnes-Jewish Hospital Radiology, you are assured of being monitored and given immediate treatment if a reaction occurs.

  • Those with known allergies to contrast need to be especially careful in informing their referring physician’s office before a GI/GU exam is ordered. Always inform the physician and technologist of any allergies.

  • Based on age and renal status, patients having GI/GU exams done with contrast require a recent serum creatinine lab test. For your convenience, this test can be done in the GI/GU department before your GI/GU exam.

  • Be prepared to discuss your completed Medication Record, allergies, past medical history and any previous surgeries.

  • Women should always inform their physician and the GI/GU technologist if there is any possibility that they are pregnant.

Length of Exam

Most exams are completed in 45 minutes, but may vary depending on the exam. From start to finish, please allow at least 1 hour for your entire GI appointment and an hour and a half for a GU appointment. Note: Barium enema exams can take up to 4 hours. For a more exact length of time for your specific exam, please call the GI/GU department at 314-454-7230.

After Your GI/GU Exam

Patients who receive barium contrast for their exam are encouraged to drink plenty of water for 48 hours after their exam to help flush the contrast from their system.

Questions About Your GI/GU Exam

Please call the GI/GU department at 314-454-7230 with any questions about your GI/GU exam.


All radiology exams are read by a physician known as a Radiologist. The radiologists at Barnes-Jewish Hospital are all specialized experts in their field. The radiologist will send the results of your exam to your referring physician’s office within 24 hours. If needed, the radiologists are available to discuss your results with your referring physician. Your physician’s office will then in turn discuss the results with you.

About Your Bill

You will receive two bills for your exam:

  • The hospital bill includes the cost to cover equipment, supplies, and technical personnel. For questions, call Hospital Billing at 314-362-0710.

  • The radiologist’s bill covers the professional interpretation of your exam. For questions, call Mallinckrodt Institute (Washington University) Patient Accounts at 314-273-0500

Patient Forms

To save time please download, print, fill out, and bring to your appointment.

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