How to Prepare for the Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) Breath Test

For accurate test results, you must avoid certain foods, drinks, supplements and medicines before the test. Many items we ingest during our day will be metabolized to hydrogen or methane gas, sometimes very slowly. You can reduce false results by eliminating these items prior to the test.

For Optimal Preparation

  • Do not use the breath test within four (4) weeks of a colonoscopy or barium enema.
  • Do not take antibiotics or bismuth preparations (Pepto Bismol) within two (2) weeks prior to doing the SIBO breath test.
  • Avoid laxatives, stool softeners or stool bulking agents one (1) week prior to the test including: Colace, Milk of Magnesia, Ex-Lax, Metamucil or Citrucel
  • Avoid peppermint oil and all probiotics the day of the test

What can you take before the test

  • You should take all other medicines prescribed by your doctor, example blood pressure drugs, cholesterol lowering drugs, thyroid drugs, etc.
  • You can take vitamins, minerals, and most supplements (except anything that contains fiber).

Foods and Drinks to Have the Day Before the Test

Avoid these foods and drinks: Beans, whole wheat pasta, all fruits, fiber or bran cereals, tofu, nuts, whole wheat and rye breads and high fiber foods (whole grains).

What to do the Night Before the Test

Avoid eating and drinking (except water) at least 8 hours before the test.

What to do the Day of the Test

  • DO NOT eat, drink (except water), chew gum or tobacco, smoke cigarettes, eat breath mints or candy before or during the test.
  • DO NOT sleep or exercise during the test.
  • DO TAKE prescription medications.
  • DO BRUSH your teeth prior to the test.

Potential Complications of the Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth Breath Test

There are very few potential complications during the 1-hour testing. Patients may feel discomfort from ingestion of lactulose including diarrhea, gas, cramping or bloating. Nausea and vomiting have been reported. The discomfort is usually transient.

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