SIBO Breath Test FAQs
These FAQs are related to the Quintron lactulose breath test.
- Q: What exactly does the SIBO test measure?
A: The SIBO test is a breath test that measures specific levels of gases, hydrogen and methane specifically, that are present in the breath when there is a bacterial overgrowth. A baseline sample is taken, a lactulose and water solution is consumed and then breath samples are taken every 20 minutes for three hours.
- Q: What is the difference between the lactulose and the glucose breath tests?
A: In the US, lactulose is a prescription drug and it requires a doctor’s prescription/order for the test, whereas anyone can order a glucose test. That said, I still recommend taking the lactulose test. Since glucose is easily digested, it only detects SIBO in the first few feet of the small intestine. A lactulose breath test can diagnose distal SIBO, which tends to be more common.
- Q: Is it really important to follow the prep diet before I take the SIBO test?
A: Yes, it’s extremely important to follow the prep diet. The prep diet and the 12-hour fasting before the test are meant to starve the bacteria before the test. The initial baseline breath sample assesses the gas levels after the bacteria haven’t been fed. The following nine tests assess the gas levels in the small and beginning of the large intestine.
- Q: Is it hard to take the breath test at home?
A: Not hard, but many people have questions about how to prepare and properly take the breath samples. There is a 2-week prep period before the test so read all the literature included in your kit and watch videos for the proper way to take the breath collections. The NCNM SIBO lab has videos that answer most questions.
- Q: I’m lactose intolerant – can I still take a lactulose breath test?
A: Lactulose is different than lactose. But the lactulose solution in the Quintron breath test does contain a small amount of lactose. Speak with your doctor to decide if taking the breath test is ok for you.