Helicobacter Pylori Tests
How To Prepare continued...
Do not eat or drink for at least 6 hours before a breath test or a stomach biopsy.
Many medicines may change the results of this test. Be sure to tell your doctor about all the prescription and nonprescription medicines you take. Your doctor may recommend that you stop taking some of your medicines.
- Do not take antibiotics or medicines containing bismuth (such as Pepto-Bismol) for 1 month before the test.
- Do not take proton pump inhibitors for 2 weeks before the test.
- Do not take H2 blockers, such as Pepcid, Zantac, Axid, or Tagamet, for 24 hours before the test.
Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have about the need for the test, its risks, how it will be done, or what the results may mean. To help you understand the importance of this test, fill out the medical test information form(What is a PDF document?).
How It Is Done
Blood antibody test
The health professional taking a sample of your blood will:
- Wrap an elastic band around your upper arm to stop the flow of blood. This makes the veins below the band larger so it is easier to put a needle into the vein.
- Clean the needle site with alcohol.
- Put the needle into the vein. More than one needle stick may be needed.
- Attach a tube to the needle to fill it with blood.
- Remove the band from your arm when enough blood is collected.
- Put a gauze pad or cotton ball over the needle site as the needle is removed.
- Put pressure on the site and then put on a bandage.
Urea breath test
The breath sample is collected when you blow into a balloon or blow bubbles into a bottle of liquid. The health professional taking a sample of your breath will:
- Collect a sample of your breath before the test starts.
- Give you a capsule or some water to swallow that contains tagged or radioactive material.
- Collect samples of your breath at different times. The breath samples will be tested to see if they contain material formed when H. pylori comes into contact with the tagged or radioactive material.
- The urea breath test usually takes about 30 minutes.
Stool antigen test