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Many tests of the anatomy and function of the gastrointestinal tract require apparatus to be inserted through the mouth or anus. Where the gut interior is to be visualized by an endoscope or barium x-ray, a clean and empty interior is required if the examination is to be a success. In some tests of gut function, as little as possible should be done to interfere with the gut’s natural performance.

Sometimes fasting is necessary, but during such tests, eating and activity should be normal and drugs that might alter gut performance should be withdrawn. For detailed descriptions of these procedures, the reader is referred to the articles below.

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