Breath Test for SIBO


Hydrogen breath tests are recommended by gastroenterologists for certain gastrointestinal conditions that affect your digestive health.

One of these conditions, known as small intestinal bacterial overgrowth or SIBO, most commonly results in:

  • Bloating
  • Flatulence
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Watery diarrhea

SIBO can seriously affect your overall quality of life, which is why it's recommended to schedule an appointment with a board-certified gastroenterologist as soon as you begin to experience symptoms.

Caused due to an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine, SIBO results in an imbalance in gut health, resulting in changes to your body's ability to properly digest food.

A hydrogen breath test can accurately diagnose and help your doctor develop a treatment plan for you.

How does a Breath Test for SIBO Work?

Some patients with SIBO may not experience any symptoms despite having an overgrowth of bacteria in their gut. Others, however, experience uncomfortable symptoms that affect digestion and your overall well-being.

Not only are hydrogen breath tests non-invasive, but they are simple tests to accurately diagnose SIBO in patients.

Your doctor may have you avoid certain medications (such as antibiotics and laxatives) leading up to the test. You will need to also avoid certain foods including complex carbohydrates (bread, pasta, fiber). You will fast for 8-12 hours prior to your test. On the day of your test, you will be asked to not smoke or exercise.

A sample of your breath is collected at the beginning of the test. Then, you'll be given a solution rich in sugar (lactulose or glucose) to drink before your breath sample will be collected again multiple times over a period of three hours.

During the test, you will not be able to eat, drink, smoke, sleep, or exercise.

Test results evaluate the presence of hydrogen gas (and sometimes methane) in your breath—a large amount of hydrogen or methane gas indicates that there is excess bacteria in the small intestine, causing an overgrowth or SIBO.

A Breath Test for SIBO is Safe When Performed by a Board-Certified Gastroenterologist

Once SIBO is diagnosed, your doctor can help develop a treatment plan that results in the reduction of excessive bacteria in your small intensive.

Treatment to get your gut properly functioning can include:

  • Antibiotics
  • Supplements such as vitamin B12, iron, thiamine, and niacin
  • Dietary changes

The information on this website is provided for educational and information purposes only and is not medical advice. Always consult with a licensed medical provider and follow their recommendations regardless of what you read on this website. If you think you are having a medical emergency, dial 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. Links to other third-party websites are provided for your convenience only. If you decide to access any of the third-party websites, you do so entirely at your own risk and subject to the terms of use for those websites. Neither Arnon Lambroza, M.D., P.C., nor any contributor to this website, makes any representation, express or implied, regarding the information provided on this website or any information you may access on a third-party website using a link. Use of this website does not establish a doctor-patient relationship. If you would like to request an appointment with a health care provider, please call our office at 212-517-7570.

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