Breath Testing (Methane)

Hydrogen Breath Test (Lactulose, Glucose, Lactose, Fructose)

The glucose and lactulose breath tests are done to determine if there is excessive bacteria in the small bowel. Lactulose testing may also be used to determine the time it takes to move through the small bowel. The lactose breath test is used to determine if the patient has lactose intolerance. Fructose testing is used to determine if fructose intolerance exists. The most common problems studied are:

  • Bloating and gas
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea or constipation

The breath test can last from two to 2-1/2 hours. 

To prepare for this study:

  • Wait 30 days after having a colonoscopy procedure.
  • The day before the test, you must change what you eat. Do not eat any:
    • Grain products
    • Fruit or fruit juices
    • Any kind or form of sugar
    • Dairy products
    • Yogurt or kefir
    • Vegetables
    • Nuts or seeds
    • Legumes
    • Beans
    • Soy products
  • Twelve hours before the test, do not eat. You may drink water and brush your teeth. Do not drink any other kind of liquid. No gum chewing, smoking or mints.
  • You can take your antacid pill and other meds. Take them at least two hours before the test with small sips of water.
  • Please check with your doctor if you have health issues. This means if you must eat special foods or take special medicine for:
    • Your gut
    • Diabetes
    • Trouble passing stool
    • Loose stools
    • Anti-nausea
    • Pain

Urea Breath Test/H. Pylori Screening Test 

A urea breath test is used to find out if there is urease (an enzyme produced by the bacteria Helicobacter pylori) in the stomach. It is used to diagnose the infection and to monitor the effectiveness of treatment.

To prepare for this study:

  • Twelve hours before the test, do not eat. You may drink water and brush your teeth. Do not drink any other kind of liquid. No gum chewing, smoking or mints.
  • You may take other scheduled medications at least two hours prior to the study with small sips of water.