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How To Prepare For A Lactose Breath Test

A lactose breath test can help your gastroenterologist diagnose your digestive disorders. Ensuring you prepare for the test properly is crucial to getting accurate results. Your gastroenterologist, Dr. Myron Goldberg, will determine if a lactose breath test in New York, NY, is necessary.

What Is a Lactose Breath Test?

A lactose breath test determines if you have lactose intolerance or bacterial overgrowth by measuring the amount of hydrogen in your breath. During the test, your health care provider will give you a drink containing sugars such as lactose or glucose. Next, they'll take samples of your expired air by asking you to blow air into a balloon.

They'll take samples of your breath every 15-20 minutes for about 3.5 hours. Finally, they'll take your breath samples for analysis. If you have problems digesting the sugars, analysis of your breath samples may reveal elevated levels of hydrogen.

If you have lactose intolerance, you lack the enzyme required to digest lactose. Therefore, when you consume dairy products containing lactose, the anaerobic bacteria in your bowel breaks down the sugar into gases such as hydrogen. Bacterial overgrowth can also cause the production of excess hydrogen as bacteria break down sugar to produce gas. Other products of the bacterial metabolism may irritate your digestive tract causing diarrhea and other symptoms.

Preparing for the Lactose Breath Test 

Preparation for the lactose breath test begins as early as four weeks before the procedure. You'll need to ensure that you're following the rules right up to the test to ensure accuracy. These tips should help you prepare for your lactose breath test in New York, NY.

Four weeks before the test:

  • No antibiotics
  • No colonoscopies or barium studies
  • No probiotics

Three days before the test:

  • No digestive aids
  • No laxatives or stool softeners

24 hours before the test:

  • Don't have milk and dairy products such as yogurt, butter, ice cream, and cheese
  • Don't have carbs such as pasta, potatoes, rice, oatmeal, cereals, and crackers
  • Don't have vegetables such as alfalfa sprouts, beets, leeks, carrots, onions, celery, cucumber, mushrooms, green or red peppers, and zucchini
  • Don't have fruit juices and soda

12 hours before the test:

  • No food allowed
  • Drinking water is permitted
  • You can brush your teeth

1 hour before the test:

  • No smoking
  • No sleeping
  • No vigorous activity or exercise

The strict restrictions required in preparation for the lactose breath test ensure accuracy. If you'd like to learn more about getting a lactose breath test in New York, NY, call (212) 583-2900 to schedule a consultation with your gastroenterologist, Dr. Goldberg.

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