H. Pylori Breath Testing

This is a simple, safe test used to detect an active H. pylori infection. H. pylori is a bacteria that can infect the stomach or the first part of the small intestine. Untreated, it can cause gastritis and duodenal or gastric ulcers.

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H. Pylori Breath Testing Description

H. pylori (Heliobactor pylori) is an infection of the lining of the stomach. It is one of the causes of ulcers. It may also cause gastritis, and is a risk factor for stomach cancer. While sometimes it can be detected via a blood test or endoscopic procedure, one of the tests used is an H. pylori breath test.

The process for this test is simple. When you arrive a sample of your breath will be collected before the test starts, for comparison to the sample that will be taken later. After the first sample is taken you will be given either a capsule to swallow or some water that contains the tagged material needed to perform the test.

Once you’ve ingested the tagged material samples of your breath will be taken at intervals to see if H.pylori has reacted with the tagged materials.

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While the test itself doesn’t take long, you will need to prepare for the test. Because many over the counter and prescription drugs use to treat gas, bloating and heartburn can interfere with the test results you will usually need to stop using them prior to the test. Discuss all medications with your physician to determine the time line you will need to follow in regards to cessation of these medications.

Stop taking all antibiotics and Bismuth type medications. Your physician will tell you how far in advance you need to do this.

Stop taking any OTC or prescription proton pump inhibitors (PPI). Your physician will tell you how far in advance you need to do this.

Stop eating and drinking 6 hours prior to the test.

Do not smoke prior to the test.

Do not brush your teeth, use mouthwash or a breath mint prior to the test.

Do not chew gum prior to the test.

Discuss all medication you are taking with your physician.

The risks associated with the H. pylori breath test are minimal. Any concerns you might have should be discussed with your GI specialist prior to the procedure.