Search the Health Library
Get the facts on diseases, conditions, tests and procedures.
I Want To...
I Want To...
Find Research Faculty
Enter the last name, specialty or keyword for your search below.
School of Medicine
I Want to...
Breath testing is a noninvasive way to help doctors diagnose a number of conditions. By analyzing your breath, we can measure the amount of certain gases, allowing doctors to arrive at a diagnosis quickly and accurately.
Breath Testing Services We Perform
Our doctors use breath testing to help diagnose a number of different conditions, including:
Thirty to 50 million Americans are lactose intolerant. This means the body is unable to digest lactose, a sugar found in milk and milk products. In order to diagnose lactose intolerance, we need to measure how your body absorbs lactose. During the procedure:
- You drink a lactose-heavy beverage.
- We analyze your breath at regular intervals to measure the amount of hydrogen.
- If the lactose is not digested by your body, it will be fermented by bacteria, leading to a production of various gases, including hydrogen.
- High levels of hydrogen in your breath indicate that your body cannot properly digest lactose and you may be lactose intolerant.
Helicobacter pylori (H.pylori) is a bacteria found in the inner lining of the stomach or duodenum that causes chronic inflammation. H. Pylori has been associated with several health conditions, including peptic ulcers and gastric cancer. During the test, you will breathe normally through a nasal breathing cannula.
- You will be instructed not to eat or drink one hour before the test.
- You will be connected to a nasal breath cannula attached to a Breath Analyzer.
- After measuring a baseline sample, you will be given a 5 ounce solution to drink.
- If H. pylori is present, CO2 will be released into the bloodstream and carried to your lungs where it will be released and electronically analyzed if H. pylori is present.
- Testing time is about 10 minutes.
You can read how to prepare for our H.Pylori breath test by reading the instructions found in this form.
This test determines whether you have difficulty absorbing fructose, a sugar found in onions, artichokes, pears and wheat. It is also used as a sweetener in some drinks. If you have symptoms such as bloating, gas, cramping and diarrhea, it may be due to fructose malabsorption.
This test is similar to the test for lactose.
- We analyze your breath for hydrogen gas.
- You drink a cup of fructose dissolved in water.
- We obtain more breath results for the next three hours.
- If there is a high presence of hydrogen, that indicates your body has difficulty absorbing the fructose.
Bacteria growing uncontrolled in the small intestine can cause small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). You may experience excessive bloating, gas, cramping and diarrhea.
To diagnose SIBO, we use a simple breath test.
- You drink a sugar solution.
- Breathe into a breathalyzer.
- If bacteria are fermenting in your small intestine, they will come out in your breath.
- Your doctor can confirm a diagnosis of SIBO.
Breath Test Preparation Instructions
You can read how to prepare for our breath test by reading the instructions found in this form.