The barium specifically coats the lining of the digestive tract allowing doctors to more easily see the contours, and any abnormalities, in the digestive system. The IV dye is another type of contrast that can help the doctors more clearly see what is going on inside you.
One time when I had to drink the barium, they just waited a while and took images. Another time, I had to drink while they were taking images and change my position as the barium flowed through my system. The procedure you follow will depend on which parts of the digestive system they need to take pictures of.
Be sure to follow their instructions for after the procedure. Barium is hard for some people to get out of their system, and they will give you instructions to make it easier.
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