Classic symptoms of SIBO include intestinal gas, abdominal distension or bloating, and irregular bowel movements.
Identifying and treating SIBO may be key steps to improving your gastrointestinal symptoms.
Breath testing is the most widely used diagnostic tool for SIBO, but there is huge variability in how to prepare and perform the test as well as how to interpret the results.
I perform at least 12 SIBO breath tests per week and am flooded with calls and emails about the preparation.
Here's what you need to know about preparing for a SIBO breath test, according to the 2017 North American consensus on hydrogen and methane-based testing in GI disorders:
- Confirm that your breath test is going to measure hydrogen, methane and carbon dioxide.
- Avoid antibiotics 4 weeks prior to the breath test, unless otherwise instructed by your doctor.
- Avoid fermentable foods such as vegetables, fruit, beans/legumes, whole grains, and dairy the day before the test. Meat and rice are OK.
- Fast for 8-12 hours prior to test.
- Stop promotility drugs and laxatives at least one week prior to the test, if tolerated.
- Do not smoke on the day of the test.
- Limit physical activity during the test.
Click here for the full consensus on preparation, performance and interpretation.