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Breath Tests

There are a series of breath tests doctors use to diagnose a variety of gastrointestinal conditions. These breath tests include:

  • Bacterial Overgrowth Breath Test
  • Fructose Breath Test
  • H. Pylori Breath Test
  • Lactose Breath Test

Bacterial Overgrowth Breath Test

The bacterial overgrowth breath test is used to determine if a large amount of bacteria are growing in the small intestines. When this occurs, it impacts the body’s ability to absorb nutrients.

Preparing for the Bacterial Overgrowth Breath Test

  • Limit the amount of slowly digesting foods, like beans, bran, pasta, high fiber breads or other high fiber cereals the day before testing.
  • You should fast for 12 hours before the test, with only water to drink.
  • Do not smoke, sleep, or exercise vigorously for at least 30 minutes before, or at any time during the testing.
  • Do not brush your teeth, gargle with mouthwash, chew gum or eat any mints the morning of the test.
  • Discontinue any probiotics two weeks prior to testing.
  • If you have been on antibiotic therapy in the 48 hours before the test, you will need to reschedule.
  • You may have water prior to test. Once the test has begun, you cannot eat or drink anything by mouth.

What Happens During the Bacterial Overgrowth Breath Test?

You will be asked to breathe into a small machine. Then, you will drink a solution of lactulose. This solution may cause diarrhea or abdominal pain in some patients. After a period of 90 minutes, where you are allowed to leave the office, you will be asked to breathe again. You will then wait another 30 minutes and breathe once more.