Download and Print PDF:
Patient Instructions for Hydrogen / Methane Breath Tests.
Hydrogen & Methane Breath Tests
A Hydrogen / Methane Breath Test is a painless and non-invasive test which
helps to diagnose the following gastrointestinal disorders.
- Lactose Breath test for lactose malabsorption (lactase deficiency)
- Fructose* Breath test for fructose malabsorption
- Glucose Breath test for small bowel/intestinal bacterial overgrowth
- Lactulose Breath test for Hydrogen production and intestinal transit time
- compulsory control test
- Sucrose* Breath test for sucrose malabsorption
- Sorbitol Breath test for sorbitol malabsorption
- Mannitol Breath test for mannitol malabsorption
- Starts at 9am and takes up to 3 hours to complete. Late arrivals may be refused testing or may have to reschedule.
- Needs to be done on a separate day
- Requires pre-test preparations -
see “Test Preparation” & "Sample Meal Plan"
- All tests are payable on the day by EFTPOS, Visa, Mastercard.
- American Express and Diner's Club cards not accepted.
- There is no Medicare rebate.
- Cost is non-refundable.
- CANCELLATION POLICY: Late cancellations (ie. within 24hrs, excluding weekends) may incur a cancellation fee equivalent to the cost of the test.
This Video provides a comprehensive overview of how to prepare and what to expect when having a Hydrogen / Methane Breath Test at one of our Gastrolab clinics.
What happens during the test?
The hydrogen and methane breath test is simple, painless and non-invasive.
Please arrive for your appointment on time (preferably 10-15 minutes early) as late arrivals may be refused testing.
On the day of the breath test the technician will first check that you have observed the patient preparations, such as proper fasting and avoiding certain medications and medical procedures prior to the test. This is to ensure accurate and reliable results.
A baseline reading will be taken using a highly sensitive, hand-held breathalyzer (for breath hydrogen), or using specialized breath collection bags (for breath methane). Following the baseline reading you will be given a liquid sugar drink, such as lactulose, fructose, lactose or glucose. Breath samples will then be collected regularly for a period of up to 3 hours, and the levels recorded by the laboratory technician on your result sheet.
The test is performed in a group setting and you may wish to bring reading material, laptop, etc. to occupy your time. You may resume your normal diet immediately after your test. You may experience certain gastrointestinal symptoms as a result of your test, such as bloating, flatulence, or in less common cases, bowel motions. Side effects are not expected.
At the conclusion of the test your results will be interpreted by one of our gastroenterologists, and a summary of results and recommendations will be sent to your referring clinician within two business days.
For dietary advice following a result suggesting malabsorption, Gastrolab can recommend an Accredited Practicing Dietician in your area who specializes in gastrointestinal disorders and malabsorption.
You must follow these instructions before each test to ensure accurate and reliable results. This will be verified on the day in order for your test to proceed. Patients who do not follow these instructions may be refused testing or may have to reschedule.
4 weeks before your test:
- NO Oral and IV Antibiotics. Skin creams, eye and ear drops are OK.
- NO Colonoscopy or Barium Meal Enema procedures.
- NO Probiotic Supplements containing Lactobacillus, Bifidus, or Acidophilus bacteria (eg. Inner Health Plus, IBS Support, ProFlora).
Yoghurts and Yakult are OK.
1 full day before your test:
- RESTRICT Milk and Dairy Products. Lactose-free milk (eg. Zymil®), soy milk, and rice milk are OK.
- RESTRICT Canned Fruit and Honey.
- RESTRICT Fruit Juice, Soft Drinks, Sports Drinks and Alcohol.
- RESTRICT High Fibre Foods (eg. beans & legumes, bran, oats)
- NO Fibre Supplements (eg. Metamucil®).
- NO Laxatives.
We recommend a meal containing rice and meat the evening before your test (or rice and vegetables for vegetarians).
All other foods and medications can be eaten as normal - admin staff will refer you back to this patient information if you call.
FAST from 9pm the night before test:
You may continue to drink plain water leading up to the test.
On the morning of your test:
- NO Smoking and Continue to Fast. Brush your teeth thoroughly with water ONLY (no toothpaste)
- Continue to take your normal medication with plain water.
- Refrain from physical exercise for 1 hour before your test.
- You may wish to bring reading material, laptop, i-pod, etc. to occupy your time.
For more information about Hydrogen/Methane Breath Testing read the articles: