Lactose Breath Test

Procedure Questions

What is a Lactose Breath Test?

The Lactose Breath Test helps diagnose an intolerance to lactose, a naturally occurring sugar that’s found in dairy products.

Procedure Bullet Points

The Lactose Breath Test is:

  • Performed in-office or at home
  • Well-tolerated

First, you’ll take a baseline breath sample, then you’ll drink a solution of lactose (or fructose) solution. A sample of your breath will be taken every hour for the next 3 hours. You’ll take 4 breath samples in total, including the baseline sample and the 3 following samples.

If left undiagnosed, lactose intolerance can lead to symptoms including:

  • Nausea
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Excess gas

Your doctor will give you instructions to prepare for the Lactose Breath Test procedure. There is a 1 day preparation period. You’ll likely be on a modified diet for the first 12 hours, and you’ll likely fast for the second 12 hours.

Inform your doctor of:

  • Any medication that you take regularly
  • Any known allergies to medication
  • Any medical conditions that will require special attention, such as;
    • heart conditions
    • lung conditions
    • any other major conditions

It’s important to follow all of your doctor’s instructions.

After you ingest the solution you will collect a sample every hour for 3 hours.

In that time do not:

  • Eat
  • Smoke
  • Sleep
  • Exercise or perform vigorous activity

Your doctor will go over the results of the Lactose Breath Test procedure with you. Your doctor may recommend modifications to your diet if lactose intolerance is detected.

Your doctor may also recommend lactase capsules, which can be taken before a meal containing lactose.

You may resume:

  • your normal activities
  • your normal diet, unless otherwise advised
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