medicine to drink to make things show up more in mri ???

Well I went to see a doctor today to get my urine tested for a uti, he said it all looked fine, which presumably means he didnt feel it needed to be sent off and tested for bacteria. all he did was shake it and compare the colour with a little chart, so i guess he knows what he is doing! He said they may give me medicine to drink to show things up in the mri, is this contrast? He could not tell me much just that things are different for each mri, and now my friend is saying a lumbar mri is like a lumbar puncture, ahh i dont know whats going on :frowning:

Hi Jules, an MRI with contrast is injected. I think he’s talking about barium meal… when you drink something and in the MRI they can see what’s going on in your digestive system.

A lumbar MRI is not a lumbar puncture at all. It just means that they use the MRI to take images of your lumbar region, in other words images of your spine.

Hope this helps,

Pat x

Hey Pat,

Thanks for your quick response. Well i think they are looking for a compressed nerve so I dont know of they will use contrast or not. But they also said a compressed nerve could be causing my urine retention so I don’t know if that would require a barium meal? Arghh this would be so much easier if i was under a neuro! I really wish they would just let me see one!

But I guess, if the doc. is saying i dont have a uti, then it makes it more likely there could be lesions on my spine causing leg trouble ect… and that would give me more chance of seeing a neuro?


Hya, yep they probably will give you a barium meal so they can see the liquid go through your digestive system and into your bladder.

If they see lesions on your spine they will refer to neuro… but Jules why haven’t you already been referred to neuro?

Pat x

Ohh i was hoping they wouldn’t give me a barium meal. Mum says its disgusting, and with my swallowing probs I would probably throw it back up. Can’t they like inject it in my tummy or something? I will have to phone the hospital to double check everything when I get my letter. Ahh the great unanswered questions, i have no idea… they are still hooked on the idea its all down to my vit d deficiency. but the dr. i saw today said the physio would refer me on if they found anything amiss on my spine. he also said there was a slim chance it could be something serious that might require surgery…they are all trying to scare me! but he said i could go back and talk to him about the scan but the results would go to the physio. so i guess since the doctors dont want to refer me, then depending on what the results show, i could maybe go back to the physio and ask him to refer me to a neuro. or maybe while im at the hospital i could enquire…

Hi Jules,

I don’t think a barium meal is used with MRIs at all, so if it’s definitely an MRI you’re having, I don’t think it can be this. I think either you must be having an MRI with injected contrast OR some other type of scan (CT scan?) with barium meal.

If it’s definitely been described as a lumbar MRI, my guess is that you’ll have injectable contrast (if any), which is the norm, and that your doctor has got a bit confused with the “something to drink” thing.


Well the physio referred me and called it a lumbar spine mri and his brief description was 15 mins in a tube. he did not mention any injections. i dont like injections but id prefer it to drinking barium! i have to phone the physio department to arrange it when i get the letter through, so i guess i can ask for confirmation then. but i dont know how much physios know about mri’s…they should know exactly what they are looking for, but when i asked him he was very wooly and all he would say was it was a precuation…

It’s quite odd being sent for scans by a physio, and not a GP or neuro in the first place! I didn’t even know physios had the authority to order scans.

Personally, I never had contrast (the injection) until after they’d already seen something suspicious on MRI, and wanted further details. So if it’s your first MRI, they might not want contrast at all.


I was confused, did not know who could do what, i guess its good tho. Now I’m just worrying myself silly until the letter comes and i can get some confirmation!


Try not to worry! It won’t be helping anything you’ve got - even if it’s not MS.

Try to remember just about everyone here has been for scans. Regardless of the exact details, it’s very unlikely you’re being sent for something nobody else here has had. We’ve all lived to tell the tale!