Are the 2-hour and 3-hour SIBO Breath Tests the Same?

Which test is best?

Which test is best?

We are often asked by patients regarding the types of SIBO testing available, and which one is best. Different labs offer 2 and 3 hour breath test kits, but they are not equal. 

As mentioned on the Testing page, after following a preparation diet, patients drink a lactulose solution and perform a breath test. By breathing into a tube every 20 minutes, we are able to measure the amount of gases being produced by the bacteria. 

The small intestine has 3 main areas - the duodenum, jejunum, and ileum. The 2-hour testing is able to look at the first 2 areas, however, it may miss any bacteria present at the end of the small intestine (ileum), before it transitions into the large intestine (aka the colon).

It is for that reason that we recommend a 3-hour breath test when assessing SIBO. It is imperative that all 3 areas of the small intestine are evaluated for bacterial overgrowth. Interpretation of your test by a SIBO Doctor will help distinguish normal levels of bacteria versus a bacterial overgrowth. You will also receive instructions on treatment protocols that will work best for your individual results.