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Crohn's Disease Forum » Tests for IBD » CT Scan / barium questions


 
06-22-2010, 03:38 PM   #1
Cat-a-Tonic
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CT Scan / barium questions

If you've seen my thread entitled "Upper Endoscopy questions", you can ignore that one now. Apparently my GI changed his mind rather abruptly and scheduled me for a CT scan even though he said last week that he wanted to do an upper endoscopy. Kind of weird, but anyway, I'm having a CT scan next week. I had mentioned all of this in my last thread, but thought that this deserved its own thread and not to just be tacked on to the endoscopy thread.

They told me I'm going to have both a barium IV and I'm going to have to drink the barium too. How awful is it to drink? Is it hard to keep down? What's the best flavor? Any tips on getting & keeping it down and not spewing during the scan? Or, any humorous stories about spewing during a scan?
06-22-2010, 04:07 PM   #2
MapleLeafGirl
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The stuff I had to drink was mixed with Kleen Prep (you know the awful colonoscopy stuff). It tasted horrible. I used a straw and drank it as fast as I could. I didn't spew but it did start coming out the other end pretty quick!
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06-22-2010, 04:14 PM   #3
Cat-a-Tonic
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Thanks Kelly. I've only had one colonoscopy and they let me do the Gatorade & Miralax prep (which went down fine but ended up causing me to become very dehydrated), so I haven't yet tasted the really horrible colonoscopy prep stuff. I hope mine isn't mixed with that stuff! And I hope I can get it all down in the hour that they give me. I'm not supposed to eat/drink for 4 hours prior to the scan so maybe I'll be totally famished/parched by the time they bring it to me and I'll be happy to gulp it down. (Yeah right! )
06-22-2010, 04:45 PM   #4
Zalanicht
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You usually can't eat or drink before it so its easy to get the huge volume of liquid down.
The barium doesn't taste bad but it doesn't taste good, kind of like chalk.
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06-22-2010, 04:51 PM   #5
Cat-a-Tonic
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Thanks, Zalanicht. Was your barium mixed with colonoscopy prep too?
06-22-2010, 05:23 PM   #6
Zalanicht
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No, I did them separate. And as for the barium IV for the ct scan it's just a dye so it illuminates stuff in your body for the machine, it doesn't hurt at all when it goes in as long as the nurse put the catheter in a good vein lol.
06-23-2010, 09:20 AM   #7
Rebecca85
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I only had to drink one litre of dye (not sure if it was barium as mine looked like blackcurrant juice). It tasted kind of like aniseed- ok at first but bleh by the end. It didn't make me feel sick but it did bloat me and give me cramps (bearing in mind I was in a bad flare with no meds).

As for the IV dye, you get a warm feeling go round your body, A funny metallic taste in your mouth and it makes you feel like you're peeing your pants!
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06-23-2010, 09:41 AM   #8
Busy
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The barium I had to drink for the barium x-ray was yucky but bearable. It tasted minty at first. My tip is to get it down quickly, don't waste time hanging onto it hoping it'll taste better, it won't! But don't worry, there were several other people there all having to drink their barium and none of us were sick

The dye was strange. I agree with Rebecca that it tastes odd and makes you feel like you're peeing. It wasn't painful at all.
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06-23-2010, 10:45 AM   #9
Cat-a-Tonic
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Thanks everyone for your replies. I wonder why the dye makes you feel like you've peed yourself? That's weird, but I'm glad to know about this now so I won't think I've had an "accident" when I have the IV! And I'm glad the barium doesn't make everyone nauseous, that makes me feel more hopeful that I can keep mine down without incident.

So are there different flavors of barium? I thought there were but nobody has mentioned flavors yet so now I'm wondering if I am just confused. If there are flavors, and I have a choice, which one is the best-tasting/easiest to get down?
06-23-2010, 11:12 AM   #10
Rebecca85
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With mine they just put squash (concentrated fruit juice) in, but I couldn't really taste it. Others on my ward put different flavours in (they bought it plain and let you add whatever).
06-23-2010, 11:17 AM   #11
Busy
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I wasn't offered a choice. It was just mint, take it or leave it... um, no, I take that back, take it or take it!

Anyhoo I wouldn't recommend it. It was nasty but necessary.
06-23-2010, 03:28 PM   #12
dreamintwilight
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I actually think the barium was the easiest prep I've had. Mine kind of tasted like minty strawberry chalk. I wasn't allowed any food or drink for the whole day prior to it, so I was happy to gulp it down! The nurse commented on how fast I drank it, haha. I found it was easier to drink through the straw as well.
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06-23-2010, 03:36 PM   #13
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Wow, the whole day? Was your scan earlier in the day? They told me that I can't eat or drink anything for 4 hours prior to my scan. So I can still eat breakfast & lunch, since my scan is at 4:30, I just have to stop eating & drinking at 12:30. That doesn't sound too bad to me. Plus they said to be at the hospital an hour earlier (at 3:30) to start drinking the barium and to start the IV, so really I'll only be fasting for about 3 hours. Definitely sounds easier than colonoscopy prep was!
06-23-2010, 03:39 PM   #14
dreamintwilight
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Yeah, well, I was also in the hospital with an obstruction, so they had my on IV liquids And yes, my scan was early in the morning. Pulled me straight out of bed, haha.

Yeah, I'd have to say the C-scope prep was the worst for me, followed by CT scan prep, and then barium being the least icky.
06-23-2010, 04:05 PM   #15
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Oh, I see. That makes sense. It still sounds kind of awful though, I'm such a wimp about fasting and especially about having no fluids. I plan on having a big lunch just prior to 12:30 on the day of my scan and gulping as much liquid as I can that whole morning too. (They literally told me I can go "hog wild" until 4 hours prior to the scan - don't know if I'll quite do that, but I will eat a larger lunch than usual and drink way more water.)

Glad to hear that barium is the easiest prep to drink - and the "minty strawberry chalk" description sounds almost appetizing - almost! You had me at minty strawberry and lost me again at chalk, ha ha.
06-23-2010, 06:56 PM   #16
dreamintwilight
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Yeah, Cat. I found the barium quite pleasant. The chalkiness is more like the texture. I still don't think it's too bad and seems to be the least amount of prep (at least in my experience) that needs to be consumed.
06-25-2010, 09:16 PM   #17
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Hi For my CT scan I have to drink 6 x 250 mls of a drink called volumeous - barium based. I think it was fruity flavour. I just walked around the waiting room and kept drinking. I had 1.5 hrs to drink it. My problem, apart from chrons was my inability to keep anything down, but with patience I got there. I just kept saying 1 down 5 to go. I would text some mates and they would help me through it. I was also nil by mouth for the morning. During the CT I was flushed with iodine and that was it for me. The scan was quick as. Good luck and enjoy your meal afterwards.
06-28-2010, 09:14 AM   #18
Mayflower537
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Hey, Cat,

I think your scan is today? I had mine at 8 this morning. The scan itself wasn't bad. I had to drink 2 450 mL things of Barium Sulfate, one at 2 hours prior and the other one hour prior. I have a pretty bad gag reflex, but I saw somewhere that someone said in reference to c-scope prep not to grimace and I tried to remember that to help me not want to hurl. Mine were supposedly orange flavored and while not the worst thing I've ever had, it wasn't tasty either. I wish the flavor had been more pronounced or something. They had me drink another cup when I got to the CAT scan room, took a couple of pictures with no IV contrast then a few with. The IV made me feel hot and like I peed myself. But I was freezing so I didn't mind feeling all toasty on the inside. I didn't get any weird taste in my mouth.

However...I have had a wicked case of D ever since. I felt my stomach start cramping up on the way to the office to get the scan done. Thankfully the test wasn't very long at all, and the office is about 7 minutes from my house. I don't know whether it's what I ate last night or if it's the barium; it could all be a coincidence.

Anyway, good luck with your scan.

May
06-28-2010, 09:23 AM   #19
Cat-a-Tonic
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Hi Mayflower, my scan is tomorrow afternoon. Glad to hear yours went well, and thanks for sharing your experience with it! I'll let you know how mine goes.
06-28-2010, 09:48 AM   #20
Mayflower537
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Yeah, I'd have to say the C-scope prep was the worst for me, followed by CT scan prep, and then barium being the least icky.
I have a question about this - you differentiate between the barium and the CT scan prep? Are you talking about two different tests? I am just curious b/c I had to drink barium sulfate this morning prior to my CT scan.
06-28-2010, 11:05 AM   #21
dreamintwilight
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Yeah, two different tests. I drank barium for my small bowel follow-through. For my other CT scans I drank something called Gastrograffin that tasted something like really weird Fruit Loops or Trix. It was clear and added to either water or juice. Had to drink like 3 huge glasses of that when I had my CT scans. When I did my small bowel follow through they did not use a CT scan machine to take images, but rather a regular x-ray machine table. I guess that's why I differentiate between "CT scan prep" and barium prep. Sorry for the confusion.
06-28-2010, 11:24 AM   #22
HeatherMN
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Hi For my CT scan I have to drink 6 x 250 mls of a drink called volumeous - barium based. I think it was fruity flavour. I just walked around the waiting room and kept drinking. I had 1.5 hrs to drink it. My problem, apart from chrons was my inability to keep anything down, but with patience I got there. I just kept saying 1 down 5 to go. I would text some mates and they would help me through it. I was also nil by mouth for the morning. During the CT I was flushed with iodine and that was it for me. The scan was quick as. Good luck and enjoy your meal afterwards.
I had something similar for an MRI, it wasn't the chalky thick barium (yuck!) but a smoother lighter stuff. Tasted like crap and gave me some serious D. I have had the regular barium for a small-bowel follow through. I have also had to make people drink it and xray them, so I feel their pain. Some lucky people get it in an enema...
06-28-2010, 02:00 PM   #23
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When I had my ct scan on Friday I had to drink a litre of aniseed tasting liquid. It was pretty revolting but just about manageable! You had to drink it really slowly over an hour and leave the last glass for when you were just about to lie down for the scan. The nurse offered to add orange squash to it but I hate anything flavoured orange. If I ever have to have it again I'd definitely take my own squash to help mask the flavour a bit. Luckily there were some great people in the waiting room. Many of whom had done it plenty of times before and had a great sense of humour which helped me through it.
The injection does give you a warm feeling but I didn't really get the feeling I'd peed myself though I was worried about it as I'd just drunk a litre of fluid!
I hope it goes well for you tomorrow Cat. The scan itself is so quick!
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06-28-2010, 02:11 PM   #24
dreamintwilight
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Heather - I've been one "lucky" enough to get barium in an enema
06-28-2010, 02:38 PM   #25
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What is the aniseed/ ouzo flavoured stuff called? That's the one I had to drink (not barium).
06-28-2010, 02:44 PM   #26
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Guess it depends on what they're looking at as to what contrast you have to drink? Dunno. Thanks for clarifying, Marisa.
06-28-2010, 03:09 PM   #27
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Heather - I've been one "lucky" enough to get barium in an enema
So sorry
I have only been on the giving end of that one, not the receiving end! And thank God I don't have to do them anymore...
06-28-2010, 04:51 PM   #28
dreamintwilight
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Yeah, the barium enema is the worst test experience I've had to date involving Crohn's. Not fun at all. I felt bad for my tech too because I couldn't make it to the facilities fast enough after we were done and ended up making a mess everywhere.

Mayflower - I've also heard that sometimes the other contrast is used over barium if there is a chance the patient might have narrowing and/or strictures. The barium hardens up really quickly, so they don't want to put you at you at any extra risk of blockage and/or other complications. I suppose it's the doc's call on which type should be used. Interestingly enough, my fistulas only showed up on my scans that involved barium, including the small bowel follow-through and the lower GI series (barium enema).
06-28-2010, 05:17 PM   #29
Mayflower537
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Very interesting, Marisa.

Anyone heard from Cat? Didn't she go to the ER today? Maybe it's in another thread.
06-28-2010, 05:48 PM   #30
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I'm here, thanks for the concern! I did go to urgent care today because I was really light-headed and weak and nauseous. They couldn't figure anything out so they gave me some IV fluids and anti-nausea medicine, and they tested my blood & urine which both came back fine (I thought I might be anemic but apparently not). I'm resting at home now, still fairly nauseous so haven't eaten anything today. I'm trying to get myself feeling well enough to where I will be able to stomach the barium tomorrow.
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