Bacterial Overgrowth Breath Test

Your doctor may have you complete a bacterial overgrowth test if you have been having gas, bloating, diarrhea or abdominal cramps. Some bacteria in the small intestine is normal, but when too many bacteria are present they compete with the body for nutrients. Too many bacteria also produce a lot of waste products such as methane and hydrogen, which can be measured in your breath.

What will the test involve?

You will be given a drink containing lactulose, a sugar that your body cannot digest. If too many bacteria are in the small intestine, they will process the lactulose and produce methane and hydrogen. You will blow into a tube 1.5-2 hours after drinking the liquid, and your breath will be tested for methane and hydrogen. If you do have bacterial overgrowth, your doctor may suggest a change in diet or antibiotics.

*Consider meeting with one of our dieticians for a nutritional consult.

Call (865) 546-3998 to schedule an appointment.