Breath Testing

When bacteria in the digestive tract break down carbohydrates, they produce acids, water, and gases.  These gases can be analyzed to study intestinal absorption.  An inability to metabolize lactose or fructose can therefore be diagnosed by a breath test.

Due to the acidic environment of the stomach, normally there is a low bacterial count in the duodenum and the jejunum of the small bowel.  Certain conditions can permit bacteria to increase to a level known as “Bacterial Overgrowth”.  This condition can also be diagnosed by a breath test.

When these tests are ordered by your physician, you will come to the Specialty Clinic (Suite 206) to pick up the kits and get a brief education on how to use the kit and the diet to follow on the day before you do the test kit.  The diet sheet is included on this web site.

You will follow the recommended diet until 12 hours before starting the test, at which time you would be able to have water only until the test is completed.

We recommend that you get up ½ hour prior to starting the test, and brush your teeth to remove bacteria.  During that ½ before the test and all during the test, no sleeping is allowed and no vigorous activity that would change your breathing rate. During that ½ before the test, dissolve the packet of sugar included in the kit in water and set aside until ready to drink it (after the 1st baseline breath sample is collected).

Note: If you have taken antibiotics, specimens should not be collected less than 10 days after antibiotic treatment is completed.  If you are currently taking laxatives, antacids, Metamucil, Citrucel or similar compound, please don’t take a dose the day prior to and during the test.

If you have any questions about Breath Testing, please call the Specialty Clinic at 402-465-8888, extension 4600.

Diet and Preparation for Breath Testing