What is Breath Testing?
A breath test is a non-invasive test that can help diagnose a variety of gastrointestinal disorders and diseases, such as lactose intolerance, fructose intolerance, Helicobacter Pylori infection of the stomach, and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth.
There are different types of breath testing offered:
- Lactulose breath test (often used to test for bacterial overgrowth)
- Fructose breath test
- Lactose breath test
- Helicobacter pylori breath test
How Does One Prepare for Breath Testing?
- Patients should limit the amount of slowly digesting foods, like beans, bran, pasta, high fiber breads or other high fiber cereals the day before testing.
- Patients 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 teeth, gargle with mouthwash, chew gum or eat any mints the morning of the test.
- Discontinue any probiotics two weeks prior to testing.
- If patients have been on antibiotic therapy in the 48 hours before the test, they will need to reschedule.
- Patients may have water prior to test. Once the test has begun, they cannot eat or drink anything by mouth.
How is Breath Testing Performed?
Patients will be asked to breathe into a small machine. Then, they will drink a solution of the substrate depending upon what test is being performed. This solution may cause diarrhea or abdominal pain in some patients. After a period of 90 minutes, patients will be asked to breathe into the machine again in order to obtain some readings. They will then wait another 30 minutes and breathe once more for a final reading.