HF 7688

Your Swallowing Disorders Clinic Visit

Read these directions right away. You will need to prepare for this visit. This handout will tell you:

  • how to prepare for your visit

  • when and where to go

  • what to expect

Preparing for Your Visit


  • Fill out the Questionnaire and Medical Intake Form in this packet. Please bring these forms with you.

  • Make a list of all your medicines, vitamins and supplements.

  • Write down any questions you have.


To make sure you can swallow safely until your visit, follow these tips:

  • Swallow carefully. Chew your food well and chew slower than normal.

  • Adjust your eating. Eat smaller meals more often. Do not eat within2 hours of bedtime.

  • Try foods with different textures. See if certain textures cause you more problems. Thin liquids, such as coffee and juice can be a problem for some people. Dry or sticky foods, such as peanut butter or bread, can also be hard to swallow.

  • Try a special liquid diet. This diet may help you stay at a healthy weight and avoid dehydration. Try smoothies such as, Ensure®, Boost®, or Carnation Instant Breakfast®.

  • Avoid alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine. These can make reflux worse.

  • Try over-the-counter antacids or acid suppressing medicines. These may give some relief.


You may need to stop taking some of your medicines before your visit. Before starting or stopping any medicine, please talk with your doctor who prescribes your medicine. Follow your instructions and call us if you have any questions.

When and Where to Go

Your Visit

Your visit is on _____ (date) at _____ (time) at the UW Health Digestive Health Center, 750 University Row in Madison.

You may park for free in front of the Digestive Health Center. See the map on our website at www.uwhealth.org/digestivehealth

If you are going to be late, please call us at 608-890-5090. We do our best to stay on time. We may have to reschedule your visit if you’re over 15 minutes late.

Check in at registration near the doors as you come in. Please note: Our doors are locked before 6:45 am and after 5:00 pm.

What to Expect

The Day of Your Visit

  • You may drink clear liquids until 4 hours before you arrive (i.e. water, apple juice, soda, Gatorade®). Avoid any red or purple liquids. Stop eating and drinking 4 hours before your visit. No solid food, milk, or dairy products until after your visit.

  • Do not take liquid antacids before your test.

  • Unless you were told to hold or stop your medicines, you may take your normal medicines with a small sip of clear liquid up to 1 hour before you arrive.

  • Follow the arrival instructions in your cover letter.

  • If you have a problem food, please bring it with you.

  • Plan to be with us for about 2-4 hours. The amount of time depends on the number of tests needed.

Care Team

We tailor your care to meet your health care needs. Your care team may include a:

  • Gastroenterologist (GI doctor)

  • Swallow therapist

  • Radiologist

  • Nurse


You may need several tests to figure out the cause of your symptoms. Your tests depend on your symptoms, health history, and whether the problem is in your throat or esophagus (swallowing tube).

Formal tests could include:

  • Modified barium swallow: This test uses video X-ray to show the mouth, throat and esophagus. The X-ray is done as you swallow different liquids and food mixed with a liquid called barium.

  • Fiber-optic endoscopic swallowing evaluation: This test uses a special camera (endoscope) and a lighted camera to test how you swallow, and what you feel in your throat.

  • High resolution pharyngeal manometry: This test measures your throat strength when you swallow.

  • Imaging tests: This may include CT scans.

Other Tests

You may need more tests to see if the esophagus is pumping too hard or not enough. These may include:

  • Barium swallow: This test uses video X-ray to watch how liquids and food (mixed with barium) move through the esophagus when you swallow.

  • Endoscopy: This test uses a flexible, narrow tube (endoscope) inserted into your mouth and down the esophagus.

  • Esophageal manometry: This test uses a small tube (catheter) to measure pressure in the esophagus. It will record how long and how often your muscles contract.

  • Impedance-pH probe: This test measures whether gases or liquids come back up into your esophagus.

Follow Up

In most cases, you will have answers and a treatment plan by the end of the day. You will need follow up visits so we can see how well your treatment plan is working.

When to Call

Call if you have any questions or concerns.

Who to Call

UW Health Digestive Health Center

Monday – Friday, 7 am to 5 pm
608-890-5090 or 855-342-9900, option 2