What Does Barium Taste Like?

Glass of milk spiltWhat is barium?

Barium is used as a method of checking the digestive system because of its opacity during X-Rays. The most common forms of giving the liquid before an X-Rays is via a meal or enema. The patient usually ingests special gas pellets and citric acid then has approximately 3 cups of barium.

How it tastes

The best description of barium is a thick, white chalky drink. It’s as thick as a thin milkshake and has been described as anything from citrus to simply plain and flavorless, with a bitter after taste.


The barium drink is considered the worst part of the test – the scan itself is relatively painless. Although barium is not bad for the body, the amounts needed for a scan can result in stomach and bowel upsets for up to 48 hours.

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