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Home Breath Testing for IBS Sufferers

Home Breath Testing Kits for Carbohydrate (FODMAP) Malabsorption


Home Breath Testing Kit Online Order Form

Home testing kits are now available for all of our breath tests:
Lactulose, Fructose, Lactose, Sorbitol, Glucose, Sucrose, Mannitol.

QUESTIONS? Contact Gastrolab on 1300 624 771

Gastrolab Hydrogen and Methane Breath Tests for gastrointestinal disorders

Gastrolab clinics are now located Australia-wide. However, for those who cannot make it to a clinic, or have a hectic work schedule, home breath testing kits are a great option.

A Gastrolab staff member will then contact you by phone to take your credit card payment and arrange for your home kit to be delivered.

IBS and Carbohydrate (FODMAP) Malabsorption

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

IBS is a common medical condition. Typical symptoms such as abdominal pain, discomfort, bloating and altered bowel habits can severely impair quality of life. Carbohydrate malabsorption is a leading cause of IBS symptoms.

Malabsorption of any dietary sugar in a person with IBS, IBD or any functional gut disorder results in fermentation of the sugar with associated gas production and a potential laxative effect.

These processes may lead to abdominal symptoms including pain, flatulence, bloating, and altered bowel habits.

Other less common symptoms may include fatigue, nausea, heartburn, and urgency with bowel movements.

If you are suffering from these common gastrointestinal symptoms you should be screened for sugar malabsorption to determine dietary restrictions that will improve symptoms and quality of life. This is the important role of breath testing in diagnosing malabsorption

All patients undertaking breath testing benefit from seeing a specialist dietitian to receive instructions on how to best manage their symptoms through diet whilst maintaining nutritional adequacy.

carbohydrate malabsorption

Read more about carbohydrate malabsorption - lactose intolerance, fructose malabsorption, sucrose malabsorption, sorbitol malabsorption.


What is Hydrogen/Methane testing?

A Hydrogen / Methane Breath Test is a painless and non-invasive test which diagnoses these gut disorders known to cause Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) symptoms:

Breath tests can be ordered without a doctor's referral. For self-referred patients the below table is a guide only.


For fructose malabsorption, recommended in all IBS patients, especially those with symptoms related to fruits, vegetables, honey and foods containing high fructose corn syrup.


For lactose malabsorption (lactase deficiency), recommended in all IBS patients, especially those with symptoms related to milk/dairy products.


For suspected sorbitol malabsorption. Sorbitol is found in some fruits (e.g. stone fruits) and as a sweetener in sugar-free foods (eg. artificially sweetened gums/mints).


For suspected sucrose malabsorption (sucrase-isomaltase deficiency). Sucrose is found in processed foods (as common table sugar), and in fruits and vegetables.


For suspected mannitol malabsorption, particularly in vegetarians. Mannitol is used as a sugar substitute and occurs naturally in some vegetables e.g. mushrooms, snow peas, cauliflower.
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Recommended for investigation of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth.

Why should I take this test?

Carbohydrate malabsorption and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth are leading causes of IBS symptoms and breath testing has been established in the medical community as a first line consideration in the diagnosis. Breath test results guide subsequent dietary management and avoid unnecessary food restrictions.

There is scarce evidence in the medical literature for the use of elimination diet and food chemical challenges in the management of IBS as an alternative to breath testing.

Hydrogen and methane breath testing at Gastrolab is carried out in accordance with guidelines established by the Rome Consensus Conference, a meeting of world experts in breath testing and sugar malabsorption in Rome 2007. Our medical directors continuously review the latest medical literature to guarantee that the policies and protocols adopted by Gastrolab reflect current best practice, so that Gastrolab continues to deliver diagnostic services of the highest standard. Gastrolab is Australia’s largest provider of diagnostic hydrogen/methane breath testing, with clinics in VIC, NSW, ACT, WA, QLD and SA.

Read more about Hydrogen Methane breath testing

What do the test results mean?

Positive breath tests indicating malabsorption suggest that you will benefit from a diet restricted in these dietary sugars. Negative breath tests indicate you absorb the test sugar(s) completely, but this does not mean there is not a diet able to improve your symptoms.

There are other forms of dietary carbohydrates/sugars that can trigger symptoms for which breath testing is unsuitable. All of these carbohydrates/sugars come under the term FODMAP, which stands for the Fermentable Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides and Polyols, describing their potential to increase gas production in the bowel, leading to symptoms of bloating, wind and pain.

The dietary strategy of reducing such sugars (low FODMAP diet) has only been formally researched since 2005. The research continues to evolve and as such, information available over the internet and in books is mostly out of date. We therefore encourage you to see a dietitian specialising in the area of fructose malabsorption and gastrointestinal conditions.

Read more about Carbohydrate Malabsorption and Diet

FAQ about Home Testing Kits:

Do I need a doctor's referral?

A doctor's referral is not required. However, a copy of results will be sent to your doctor if you have been referred.

Are the tests safe?

The testing is simple, non-invasive and safe, even in pregnancy and in children and individuals with diabetes. Some patients may experience symptoms such as bloating, flatulence and diarrhoea during testing. Fructose and Sucrose tests are not suitable for patients with diagnosed or suspected Hereditary Fructose Intolerance.

Is the home test suitable for children?

Gastrolab offers breath testing to children of all ages - the only limitations being their willingness to supply us with a breath sample. We have found that our home breath kits can be extremely useful for testing children, particularly the younger children who find a visit to the clinic or doctor confronting. If ordering for a child, please provide the child's weight if under 35kg so the sugar dose can be adjusted for the test.

Which tests do I order?

A minimum of two tests is required. For self-referred patients, information above explains more about the different breath tests. It is recommended for all patients with IBS to take the Fructose and Lactose tests. Please note that the Lactulose compulsory control test is included with each order.

What preparation is required before the test?

For 2 WEEKS before tests, patients must not have the following:

  1. Oral and/or IV antibiotics
  2. Bowel prep procedures (eg. colonoscopy and/or barium meal enema)

See: full pre-test preparations before placing your order.

How much time is required to do the tests?

We recommend one test is performed every 2 days. Each test takes approximately 3 hours, with breath samples taken at intervals. [Detailed Instructions are provided once you have ordered the kit}

How do I return the tests?

Once received, all tests should be completed and posted back to Gastrolab as soon as practical. All kit components must be returned, along with collected breath samples.

What is the cost of the tests?

Details about the cost of home kits is available on the online order form. Postage is included in the cost (Express post included for WA and NT patients).


Contact Us

Phone: 1300 624 771
Fax: (03) 9331 4198
Email: enquiries@gastrolab.com.au

Head Office: Level 1 456 Lower Heidelberg Road Heidelberg VIC 3084

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