Gut health and digestive disease expert Emmy Bright (@realgood_nutrition) took to social media to help educate patients on properly taking an at-home hydrogen and methane breath test for small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO):
🦠🌬️3 things to know about breath testing for SIBO at home:
First, SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) is when bacteria inappropriately grows in your small intestine, and it’s associated with things like IBS, food poisoning, and autoimmune diseases to name a few. SIBO can feel like bloating, distention, increased gas, diarrhea and/or constipation, abdominal pain/cramping, etc. It’s also often associated with nutrient malabsorption, including fat which leads to floating and foul-smelling stool.
🧫🩺 The most common way to test for it (although not the gold standard, which is culturing a jejunal aspirate) is the lactulose or glucose breath test, and here are 3 things to know about testing at-home:
1️⃣ You need to have been off antibiotics for 4 weeks and probiotics for 2 weeks before testing.
2️⃣ You’ll consume either lactulose or glucose (both are sugars). I prefer glucose as the substrate, but both have downsides in terms of false positives vs. false negatives.
3️⃣ The test takes about 2.5 hours as you collect samples every 15 minutes, so definitely do this when you’re working from home or off. If your doc ordered a lactulose test, you may have a pretty rough day if you’re prone to diarrhea so again don’t schedule much else that day (or do it in clinic with your doc).
Questions? Drop ‘emmmm ⬇️ If you’re a client and want to see if you should test send me a message in Healthie!
👩🏼⚕️ Educational purposes only. Not intended to treat, diagnose, or manage any medical or health condition. Always talk with your personal healthcare provider first.
Emmy Bright MS, RDN, CD, LDN, is the owner of Real Good Nutrition™ and a Registered, Licensed, and Certified Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor specializing in Medical Nutrition Therapy and realistic wellness. She is based in Madison, Wisconsin, and provides individualized nutrition therapy and counseling to patients virtually nationwide.