Hydrogen methane breath test

Collection for breath hydrogen and methane testing is performed at Sullivan Nicolaides Pathology procedural centres. For your nearest collection centre and to make an appointment, please refer to your request form, visit our  Collection Centre Locations, or telephone Patient Services Support on 1300 732 030 if you have any questions regarding this procedure.

The test is non-invasive procedure. You will be required to drink a small sample of carbohydrate mixed with water and then collect breath samples by exhaling into a bag.

These samples are sent to the laboratory for testing and the test results will be sent to your doctor.

You may experience some discomfort or develop symptoms such as diarrhoea, nausea and bloating during or after the test.

Please read through the guidelines below to ensure that you are able to take the test:

  • This test will take 2.5  hours to complete.
  • You must not take this test if you are currently taking or have taken any antibiotics in the past 4 weeks.
  • You must not take this test if you have had a colonoscopy within the past 4 weeks.
  • You must not take this test if you have taken any probiotic supplements in the past 2 weeks.
  • You cannot take laxatives for 3 days prior to this test.
  • You cannot smoke for at least 6 hours prior to or during this test.
  • No chewing gum should be consumed on the day of testing.
  • A low fibre diet must be followed for the 2 days prior to the day of testing. Avoid high-fibre foods such as fruit, vegetables, wholegrain breads and cereals, nuts, seeds and legumes. Acceptable foods include meats (beef, lamb, pork, chicken, ham, turkey, fish and seafood), eggs, white rice, white pasta, white bread, semolina, tapioca, small amounts of margarine and olive oil, plain biscuits/cakes, black coffee and black tea (not herbal). Avoid dairy products as they contain lactose.
  • You must fast overnight for at least 14 hours prior to this test. On the night before your test, eat your evening meal between 5 pm and 6 pm, and eat nothing afterwards.
  • During the fasting period you may only drink water.
  • Continue to take your usual medications the evening before, although any diabetes medications/insulin will need to be discussed with your GP prior to the procedure. The morning of the procedure take your normal morning oral medications on waking (~6am).
  • Please empty your bowels prior to your attending the procedure centre. This prevents colonic gases from interfering with the measurements of breath hydrogen and methane produced by the test sugar digestion.

Please note – these guidelines must be adhered to otherwise results of the testing may be invalid and the procedure may need to be repeated. If the procedure is repeated the patient will be responsible for payment of both procedures.

All patients will be privately billed for this test. An out-of-pocket fee will apply, plese dicsuss the fees at the time of booking

Item number 34509 - Issue Date April 2019