There are a series of breath tests doctors use to diagnose a variety of gastrointestinal conditions. These breath tests include:
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
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.
Fructose Breath Test
The fructose breath test is used to evaluate the presence of fructose malabsorption, a condition that is a leading cause of bloating, cramping and diarrhea.
Preparing for a Fructose Breath Test
What Happens During a Fructose Breath Test?
You will need to drink a 12-ounce can of Coca Cola three hours before going to your appointment. It has to be regular Coke, not diet, not caffeine-free and no Pepsi or generic brands. You will be asked to blow into an instrument, and your breath will be analyzed for hydrogen gas. Your breath test results will be obtained every 30 minutes for three hours.
H. Pylori Breath Test
The H. Pylori Breath Test is a procedure performed by gastroenterologists to detect bacteria called helicobacter pylori (commonly referred to as H Pylori). H. pylori can be found in the stomach or small intestine, and can cause gastrointestinal diseases as well as increase the risk of gastric cancer. Gastritis, an inflammation of the stomach lining, and gastric ulcers are two conditions associated with H. pylori.
Preparing for a H. Pylori Breath Test
What Happens During a H. Pylori Breath Test?
You will be asked to breathe into one of the breath collection bags and drink a solution of Pranactin-Citric. Notify your physician if you are allergic to the protein phenylalanine as the Pranactin-Citric solution contains this. After 15 minutes, you will be asked to breathe into the second breath collection bags. You will receive your results within 24 to 72 hours after taking this test.
Lactose Breath Test
The lactose breath test is a procedure administered to a patient to diagnose lactose intolerance, which is an inability to digest lactose, a sugar found in milk. Common symptoms of lactose intolerance include cramping, bloating, gas or diarrhea after dairy products have been consumed.
Preparing for a Lactose Breath Test
What Happens During the Lactose Breath Test?
You will be asked to drink a lactose-containing beverage, which may cause cramping, bloating, gas or diarrhea. Fifteen minutes after drinking the beverage, you will blow into balloon-like bags every 15 minutes for two hours. The air you breathe into these bags is tested for the presence of hydrogen. Elevated hydrogen breath levels indicate the improper digestion of lactose, which could lead to lactose intolerance or the presence of abnormal bacteria in the colon.