This handout will tell you about your capsule test. It will tell you what to do before, during and after the test. 

About This Test

This test helps us see your stomach, small bowel and colon. You will swallow a capsule that looks like a pill. It measures acidity (pH) and temperature. It also tracks how long it takes the capsule to go through your digestive tract. This data is sent to a wireless receiver that you wear for 5 days. The capsule passes out of your body when you have a bowel movement. You do not need to save the capsule.

One Week Before the Test

Medicines that affect stomach acid or how the stomach empties may need to be stopped before your test. Diabetes medicines (pills and insulin) may need to be adjusted for the time when you can’t eat. Before starting or stopping any medicine, please talk with your doctor who prescribes your medicine.  

Stop these medicines:

  • 7 days before the test: Prilosec® or Zegerid® (omeprazole), Nexium® (esomeprazole), Aciphex® (rabeprazole), Prevacid® (lansoprazole), Protonix® (pantoprazole), Dexilant® (dexlansoprazole), Reglan® (metoclopramide), Motilium® (domperidone), erythromycin, and azithromycin 

  • 5 days before the test: laxatives and anti-diarrheals

  • 2 days before the test: Zantac® (Ranitidine), Tagamet® (Cimetidine), Axid® (Nizatidine), Pepcid® (Famotidine)

  • 1 day before the test: antacids 

Day Before Testing 

Do not eat, drink, or use tobacco after midnight the night before the test. Do not drink alcohol 24 hours before or during the test. 

Day of Test 

Your appointment will last about 30 minutes. Your care team will give you a small meal bar to eat. You will then swallow the capsule with a small drink of water. You cannot eat or drink anything except for small sips of water for 6 hours after swallowing the capsule. After six hours, you may eat and drink as you wish.

Testing Period

You must wear the receiver on your body at all times during the test except when you bathe or shower. When you bathe or shower, take off the receiver and keep as near to the shower or bathtub as possible. Do not let it get wet. 

Until the capsule has passed, do not take the medicines you stopped before the test. Do not drink alcohol or do hard exercise. You cannot have an MRI if the capsule is inside of you. If you are unsure if the capsule has passed, an x-ray will be needed before any MRI testing. 

During the testing period, record when you eat and when you have bowel movements. Do this by pressing the event button on the recorder. Note the date and time in your diary. Wait 3 minutes before flushing the toilet after each bowel movement. The sensor needs time to adjust to temperature changes.

When to Call

Report any new belly pain, nausea, or vomiting to your doctor if the capsule has not passed. You may need an x-ray.

Who to Call

UW Health Digestive Health Center 

(608) 890-5010 

(855) 342-9900

Returning the Receiver

After 5 days, you will return the receiver to the Digestive Health Center (750 University Row, Madison, WI), 2nd Floor Reception. You can return it earlier if the capsule passes in less than 5 days. Please allow 1-2 weeks for the reports to be done and for your doctor to review. 

If you are a patient receiving care at UnityPoint – Meriter, Swedish American or a health system outside of UW Health, please use the phone numbers provided in your discharge instructions for any questions or concerns.