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Abdominal X-ray

Definition

An x-ray creates pictures of organs in the body. This type of x-ray takes a picture of organs in the abdomen.

Abdominal Organs
3d male digestive organs
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Reasons for Test

Your doctor may order this test if there is a problem in your abdomen. The area includes everything from just under your chest to your pelvic area. Some symptoms that may make your doctor concerned include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Abdominal pain or side pain
  • Bloating
  • Blood in the urine
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Bloody or dark black stools
  • Abdominal trauma

Possible Complications

Complications are rare. If you are planning to have an x-ray, your doctor will review a list of possible complications.

A x-ray does use radiation. You and your doctor will weigh the harms and benefits of this test. An x-ray may not be advised if you are pregnant. Be sure to discuss these risks with your doctor before the test.

What to Expect

Prior to Test

Usually no special preparation is needed.

You will remove your clothes and put on a hospital gown. You will also need to remove all metal items, like jewelry and watches.

Tell your doctor if you:

  • Have taken any bismuth medicines (such as Pepto-Bismol) within the last four days
  • Had a barium contrast x-ray within the last four days
  • Are pregnant or could possibly be pregnant

Description of Test

You will lie flat on your back under the x-ray machine. You will be asked to remain still while the x-ray is taken. Between x-rays, you may be asked to move into another position. You may also be asked to stand upright.

After Test

You will be able to leave after the test is done.

How Long Will It Take?

The x-ray will take about 10 minutes

Will It Hurt?

No

Results

The x-ray may help your doctor find the source of your problem. If the x-ray shows an abnormality, you may need more testing such as:

Call Your Doctor

Call your doctor if you have any questions about the test, your condition, or your test results.

In case of an emergency, call for medical help right away.

Revision Information

  • National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse

    http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov

  • Urology Care Foundation

    http://www.urologyhealth.org

  • The Kidney Foundation of Canada

    http://www.kidney.ab.ca

  • The Public Health Agency of Canada

    ttp://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca

  • Kidney, ureter, and bladder x-ray. John Hopkins Medical Center website. Available at: http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/test%5Fprocedures/urology/kidney%5Fureter%5Fand%5Fbladder%5Fx-ray%5F92,P07719 . Accessed November 10, 2012.

  • The Merck Manual website. Available at: http://www.merck.com/mmpe/index.html .

  • The Patient's Guide to Medical Tests . Yale University School of Medicine; 1997.