Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is a bacteria that can infect the stomach or duodenum. Untreated, H. pylori bacteria can cause gastritis and duodenal or gastric ulcers. A test involving breathing into a balloon-like bag is a safe and easy way to find H. pylori infection.
During the test, you will be asked to exhale into a balloon-like bag. The air you breathe into this bag is tested to provide a basis for comparison (called a baseline sample). You will then be asked to drink a small amount of a pleasant lemon-flavored solution. Fifteen minutes after drinking the solution, a second breath sample will be taken. The air you breathe into this bag is tested for an increase in carbon dioxide.
Four weeks before the test do not take any antibiotics or Pepto-Bismol ™ (oral bismuth subsalicylate).
Two weeks before the test do not take any prescription or over-the-counter proton pump inhibitor
One hour before the test, do not eat or drink anything (including water).
After the procedure
- Your breath samples are sent to the laboratory where they are tested.
- You may resume your normal activities.
- No restrictions.
- Your doctor will notify you as soon as your laboratory test results are available.
- If the test indicates that you do have a H. pylori infection, it can be treated with antibiotics.
- One month after antibiotic treatment your doctor might order a repeat breath test to make sure the infection has been cured.