Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) Breath Test – Lactulose


A breath test used to measure hydrogen and methane gas, indicating small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).

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Breath testing measures the hydrogen and methane gases produced by bacteria in the small intestine that has diffused into the blood, then lungs, for expiration.  These gases are produced by bacteria, yeast or archaea, not by humans, and are tracked on a graph over the small intestine transit time of 2-3 hours.  A sugar solution of glucose or lactulose is taken after a 1 or 2 day preparatory diet, which removes much of the food that would feed the bacteria, allowing for a clear reaction to the sugar drink.  There are two types of breath test: lactulose and glucose.  Please ensure you choose the correct challenge agent when ordering:

Lactulose Breath Test
Lactulose is a non-digestible sugar to humans:  only bacteria can metabolise it, and they then produce gas.  If there is an overgrowth, this will be reflected in the levels of hydrogen or methane gases.   Lactulose takes longer to metabolise than glucose and can therefore help assess the distal end of the small intestine.

The test is performed at home. There should be a 24-48 hour preparation diet prior to starting the test, which should be started after an overnight fast (12 hours), and will take 3 hours to collect the samples at timed intervals.


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