Associates in Digestive Diseases

Breath Tests

Breath tests are ordered to help diagnose a specific problem by utilizing chemical reactions in your own breath to diagnose certain conditions.

Lactose Breath Test
This test detects intolerance to lactose, a milk sugar, in your diet. The patient is given a dose of a lactose-containing fluid and then asked to give the nurse breath samples over the next few hours. Measurements are taken and intolerance can be detected by the pattern being elicited. If one is severely intolerant, cramps and/or diarrhea may ensue.

Fructose Breath Test
Some patients are intolerant of fructose, a sugar found in fruits and sweeteners such as high fructose corn syrup. A fructose challenge is given when the patient arrives in the office, and breath samples are obtained over the next few hours. Measurements are taken and intolerance can be detected.

Lactulose Breath Test-Bacterial Overgrowth
An overgrowth of bacteria in the GI tract can be caused by certain conditions, such as Crohns disease, multiple surgical procedures, diabetes, underproduction of stomach acid, and connective tissue disease. Symptoms may include bloating, diarrhea, excessive gas. The test involves ingesting lactulose, a sugar which ferments when introduced to the GI tract bacteria, and causes the production of hydrogen. Breath is collected over a several-hour period. Analysis of the results will help determine the source of the symptoms.

H.Pylori Breath Test
Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is a bacteria that can infect the stomach and lead to a variety of problems including ulcers, gastritis, cancer and lymphoma. This test is often used to document the eradication of this bacteria after a course of treatment.

After a 4-hour fast, you will arrive at the office and be given something to ingest. If H. pylori is present in the stomach, carbon dioxide will be produced and absorbed across the lining of the stomach and into the blood. It then travels in the blood to the lungs where it is excreted in the breath. Samples of exhaled breath are collected, and the isotopic carbon in the exhaled carbon dioxide is measured. Results are usually available in a few days.

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