What happens during the H. pylori breath test?

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.

What steps do I take before the procedure?

Special conditions

Be sure to tell your doctor if you are allergic to any medicines or if you are phenylketonuric.


  • 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 inhibitors omeprazole (Prilosec®), lansoprazole (Prevacid®), pantoprazole (Protonix®), rabeprazole (AcipHex®) or esomeprazole (Nexium®), dexlansoprazole (Dexilant®).

Please note:* *Do not stop taking any other medicine without first talking with your doctor.

Eating and drinking

One hour before the test, do not eat or drink anything (including water).

On the day of the procedure

A healthcare provider will explain the procedure in detail and answer any questions you might have. The procedure lasts about 20 to 30 minutes.

After the procedure

  • Your breath samples are sent to the laboratory where they are tested.
  • You may resume your normal activities.
  • No restrictions.

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