Breath Testing

Breath testing is a noninvasive way to help doctors diagnose a number of conditions. By analyzing your breath, we can measure the amount of certain gases, allowing doctors to arrive at a diagnosis quickly and accurately.

Why You May Need …

  • WAIT 28 days to have a breath test after bowel prep (i.e., for colonoscopy, capsule endoscopy, barium radiography or other related procedure)

  • Discontinue Antibiotics and Probiotics at least four (4) weeks before your test, unless instructed otherwise by your provider.

  • Do not take ANY laxatives for at least one week prior to your test


The day before your test, please limit your diet

A low-residue diet that minimizes nonabsorbable carbohydrates (starches and sugars) is strongly recommended.

AVOID foods like:

• Pasta, whole grain products, bran, high fiber cereals, granola, etc.
• Fruit juices, applesauce, apricots, bananas, cantaloupe, canned fruit 
cocktail, grapes, honeydew melon, peaches, watermelon. Raw and dried fruits like raisins and berries.
• Vegetable juices, potatoes, alfalfa sprouts, beets, green/yellow beans,
carrots, celery, cucumber, eggplant, lettuce, mushrooms, green/red peppers, squash, zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, swiss chard, beans, lentils, corn, etc.

• All nuts, seeds and beans, as well as foods that may contain seeds • Milk, cheese, ice cream, yogurt, butter

The day of your test

  • Medications (except antibiotics) may be taken with water 6 hours before the test. Please call if unsure
  • Do NOT smoke at least one (1) hour before the test

During your test

  • No eating or drinking anything at all during the breath test
  • Do NOT sleep or exercise vigorously 1⁄2 hour before or anytime during the test
  • This test may take 3 hours or more
  • We have magazines you may read, or a movie you can watch during the test
  • Please ask questions whenever you’d like during the procedure

About the Procedure

Lactose Intolerance Breath Test

Thirty to 50 million Americans are lactose intolerant. This means the body is unable to digest lactose, a sugar found in milk and milk products. In order to diagnose lactose intolerance, we need to measure how your body absorbs lactose. During the procedure:

  1. You drink a lactose-heavy beverage.
  2. We analyze your breath at regular intervals to measure the amount of hydrogen.
  3. If the lactose is not digested by your body, it will be fermented by bacteria, leading to a production of various gases, including hydrogen.
  4. High levels of hydrogen in your breath indicate that your body cannot properly digest lactose and you may be lactose intolerant

Helicobacter Pylori (H. Pylori) Breath Test

Helicobacter pylori (H.pylori) is a bacteria found in the inner lining of the stomach or duodenum that causes chronic inflammation. H. Pylori has been associated with several health conditions, including peptic ulcers and gastric cancer. During the test, you will breathe normally through a nasal breathing cannula

  1. You will be instructed not to eat or drink one hour before the test.
  2. You will be connected to a nasal breath cannula attached to a Breath Analyzer.
  3. After measuring a baseline sample, you will be given a 5 ounce solution to drink.
  4. If H. pylori is present, CO2 will be released into the bloodstream and carried to your lungs where it will be released and electronically analyzed if H. pylori is present.
  5. Testing time is about 10 minutes.

Fructose Intolerance Breath Test

This test determines whether you have difficulty absorbing fructose, a sugar found in onions, artichokes, pears and wheat. It is also used as a sweetener in some drinks. If you have symptoms such as bloating, gas, cramping and diarrhea, it may be due to fructose malabsorption.

This test is similar to the test for lactose.

  1. We analyze your breath for hydrogen gas.
  2. You drink a cup of fructose dissolved in water.
  3. We obtain more breath results for the next three hours.
  4. If there is a high presence of hydrogen, that indicates your body has difficulty absorbing the fructose.

Bacterial Overgrowth Syndrome (SIBO)

Bacteria growing uncontrolled in the small intestine can cause small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). You may experience excessive bloating, gas, cramping and diarrhea.
To diagnose SIBO, we use a simple breath test.

  1. You drink a sugar solution.
  2. Breathe into a breathalyzer.
  3. If bacteria are fermenting in your small intestine, they will come out in your breath.
  4. Your doctor can confirm a diagnosis of SIBO.

Possible Complications

There are no side effects, risks, or complications of a breathing test.

*** IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: The content herein is provided for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive medical advice and self diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. Always consult your doctor before starting or changing treatment. If you think you may have a medical emergency, please call your doctor or 911 immediately.