Allergic Reaction To Barium Swallow

A barium swallow is a type of test that is used to examine the esophagus or food pipe. Allergic reaction to barium swallow can be identified using this test. A doctor can recommend this test if they need to see an outline of any part of a person’s digestive system. Barium is a white liquid that is seen on x-rays. Barium passes through the digestive system and does not cause harm to a person. When passing through the body, the barium coats the inside of the food pipe, the stomach or the intestine, which makes the contours of the organ appear in the X-rays.

allergic reaction to barium swallow

Why is the barium swallow test used?

A barium can help doctors identify problems in the food pipe, the stomach or the intestine. The barium swallow test can be used if someone has one of the following conditions:

  • Often, painful heartburn
  • Gastric reflux, where food or acid continue to rise back to the food pipeline
  • Difficulty eating, drinking or swallowing

This test can provide doctors with information about how the person swallowed.

It can also be revealed if someone has one of the following in their food pipe, stomach or the first part of the intestine:

  • boils
  • abnormal growth
  • blocking
  • narrow

If someone has a tumor, it will appear on the x-ray as an irregular contour that extends from the wall of the affected organ.

Allergic Reaction To Barium Swallow

The “New England Journal of Medicine” in October 1997 reported the case of a 63-year-old woman who had a severe allergic reaction after an upper gastrointestinal examination with barium sulfate. The test revealed that he was allergic to sodium carboxymethylcellulose, an ingredient of barium sulfate used in the test. According to the “Encyclopedia of Diagnostic Imaging,” allergic reactions to barium sulfate are rare and occur in approximately one patient of 750,000. One of the ingredients involved in allergic reactions is glucagon, which is used to reduce discomfort during the examination of barium sulfate. The authors of the encyclopaedia suggest that some allergic reactions may be due to latex in medical gloves or balloon enemas used in the examination.

Risk Benefits

You have a higher risk of an allergic reaction to the ingredients in barium sulfate if you have a history of asthma or allergies, such as fever, or if you have experienced a barium sulfate reaction or another of the ingredients in the barium sulfate preparation. It is impossible to predict which patients will have an allergic reaction to barium sulfate preparations, so the doctor doing this test is prepared to treat allergic reactions.

Related article: Can Allergies Be Cured By Exposure


If you experience itching, itching, swelling of the throat or difficulty in breathing or swallowing, rapid heartbeat, agitation or confusion after a gastrointestinal examination with barium sulfate, you may suffer an allergic reaction to barium swallow. Tell your doctor immediately or go to the emergency room, as it can be a life-threatening condition.

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