When it comes to your gut health, the SIBO breath test is something I highly recommend. More often times than not, SIBO can be the root cause of other conditions in the body. I’m not going to lie, I wish I did this test a lot sooner! Here’s everything you need to know about the bacterial infection and testing for SIBO.
What The Heck is SIBO?
SIBO stands for Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth, which pretty much means there is too much bacteria in the small intestines. Ideally, there should not be a lot of bacteria the small intestines.
There are 3 types of SIBO being Methane Dominant, Hydrogen Dominant, and Hydrogen Sulfide Dominant. In regards to the test, there isn’t a breath test to detect Hydrogen Sulfide SIBO. Here is a little break down of what the difference is between them all:
- Methane Dominant is when methane is more dominant than hydrogen gas, which is often associated with constipation. This is due to Archaea (an organism that chills in our body) consuming the hydrogen to produce methane.
- Hydrogen Dominant is when hydrogen is more dominant than methane, which is often associated with diarrhea.
- Hydrogen Sulfide is usually associated with constipation and “rotten egg” smelling flactulence.
- Combination is when you have both high levels in hydrogen and methane.
I know it is confusing af, but this is why you must get tested!
What are the symptoms of SIBO?
This is where people often get SIBO confused with IBS. More than likely SIBO is the root cause of your IBS symptoms. I learned this the hard way as I was treating the wrong issue! Here are some common symptoms associated with SIBO:
- Abdominal Pain
- Weight Loss
- Weight Gain
- Vitamin/Mineral Deficiencies
You can see a lot of symptoms are associated with IBS! This is when it is worth getting tested something I wish I did. Don’t be like me and get tested!
How to order the SIBO Breath Test?
There are two ways you can order the SIBO breath test. The first way to order it is yourself through DirectLabs. The second way is through a practitioner. If you go through your practitioner (whether western or functional) you may still have to pay for it out of pocket. It is worth talking to your insurance company.
Personally, my insurance said it was “experimental” which is bullsh*t, but I paid $179.00. This is cheaper than going through my GI specialist or ordering it myself. Again, go with the best option for you, but make sure it is the 3-hour lactose test. This is the most accurate form compared to the 2-hour options!
What to do BEFORE the test?
There are steps you must take before conducting the breath test to ensure it is accurate. The test does come with all the instructions so don’t worry if you forget something! These are the guidelines to follow:
- 4 Weeks Before: Wait 4 weeks after your last dose of antibiotics, colonoscopy, or barium enema before the test.
- 2 Weeks Before: Wait 2 weeks (possibly 4 weeks) after your last dose of antifungals, pepto-bismol, or any herbal/antimicrobial products before the test.
- 1 Week Before: Avoid using laxatives, stool softeners, and/or any stool bulking medications (i.e. Metamucil) as well as any antacids containing aluminum or magnesium hydroxide (i.e. Mylanta or Rolaids).
- 1 Day Before: Follow a strict diet and don’t take any probiotics, which will be discussed below!
- 12-Hours Before: Fast for a least 12 hours prior to the test (you can only have water), don’t take any non-essential medications/supplements, and don’t chew gum/minds, eat candy, or use mouthwash.
- 1 Hour Before: No smoking or exposure to second hand smoke, no sleeping, no exercise, and no toothpaste at least an hour before the test.
- During: The only thing you will be consuming during the test is the lactose beverage and water at least an hour after drinking the lactose beverage.
What can I eat the day before?
It is a very very bland diet…But don’t worry it is only for a day! What you can include in your diet is baked/boiled chicken, fish, turkey, ground beef, and/or fish, salt, pepper, white bread, plain steamed rice (white only), eggs, clear chicken or beef broth, tofu, black coffee, and plain tea.
Just to give you any idea of what I ate that day:
- Breakfast: Rice, crispy ground beef, and scrambled eggs.
- Lunch: Rice and chicken thighs.
- Dinner: Rice and two salmon portions.
- Drinks: Green tea and loads of water.
Honestly, I wish I had eaten more as I was pretty hungry when going to bed and when I took the test.
How do I take the test?
The whole test takes 3-hours and I started mine at 5 AM. I highly recommend setting a 20-minute alarm just so it is a lot easier to keep track of. You do need to put the date, time, and name on ALL of the vials.
Before starting, I put the lactose into a class and set it aside. At 5 AM, I took my baseline test, in which you exhale into the bag, stick the vial into the needle, hold for 2-seconds, and release. The vials are self-closing, and it will look like nothing is in there.
After the first test, I drank the beverage, waited 2-minutes, and did the same shebang. Continue doing this until the last 2 vials as you have to wait 30-minutes instead of 20-minutes.
THE TEST IS COMPLETE!
Once it is all done, store the vials in the bubble wrap. Place back in the box and send in the Fedex bag. I just brought mine to a Fedex drop off location or you can have them pick it up from your house!
As for the results, if your practitioner orders the test for you, they’ll send them to their office. If you order yourself, you’ll get the results, in which you would have to find a practitioner to explain the results and to get your protocol.
I truly hope this helps you with you SIBO test and gives you some peace of mind! Just remember just test don’t guess!
**This information is not meant as medical or nutritional advice and should not be taken as such. Always check with your qualified healthcare professional before incorporating new supplements or nutritional changes into your routine. A Primal Health Coach (PHC) is trained to evaluate nutritional needs and make recommendations of dietary changes and nutritional supplements. A PHC is unable to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease or medical condition. I cannot guarantee any specific result from recommendations as we are all bio-individually different. If you are under the care of a healthcare provider, it is important that you contact them and alert them to any changes in your lifestyle in regards to nutrition and supplements. A health coach may be a beneficial addition to more traditional care, and it may also alter your need for medication, so it is important you always keep your physician informed of changes in your nutritional program.