Patient Information

Gut conditions leaflets

Ipswich Hospital


Helicobacter Pylori breath test

What is Helicobacter Pylori?

Helicobacter Pylori are a bacteria present in the lining of the bottom of the stomach. It is a common infection, and in most people the bacteria doesn’t cause any problems. However, in some cases it can affect the lining of the stomach which can cause gastric or duodenal ulcers. Due to this risk, if you are diagnosed with Helicobacter Pylori, your doctor may prescribe you some medications to treat this infection.

Why do I need a breath test?

A breath test can confirm whether Helicobacter Pylori are present. This can be to diagnose the infection or following the treatment of medication.

Where does the breath test take place?

The test is based in the Endoscopy Unit within Ipswich Hospital. When arriving at the department, please knock on the door and wait for the receptionist before coming in.

What to do before the breath test

  • Any course of antibiotics need to be completed 28 days before the test
  • Esomeprazole, Lansoprazole, Omperazole, Pantoprazole and Rabeprazole must be stopped 14 days before the test
  • Cimetidine, Famotidine, Nizatidine and Ranitidine must be stopped three days before the test
  • You cannot eat or drink six hours prior to the test

What happens during a breath test?

The test is divided into two parts. Firstly, you will be asked to blow into two glass vials with a straw. You will then be asked to drink a solution of citric acid to prepare your stomach for the test solution.

A urea tablet is then dissolved in water to make the test solution. You will be asked to drink this. You will then be able to leave the department for 30 minutes (but you cannot eat and drink in this time).

On return to the department, you will be asked to blow into two more glass vials with a straw. The test is now complete.

What happens following the breath test?

You can restart any medication you may have stopped for the test and eat and drink as normal. A letter will be sent with the results of the test, and your consultant will be notified. If the result has come back as positive, further treatment may be needed which your consultant will decide.



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