Urea Breath Test

2 minute(s) read
Urea Breath Test


Helicobacter Pylori (H. Pylori) is very harmful to the stomach and can cause gastritis, stomach ulcer or cancer.  Therefore, breath test for H. Pylori infection in the stomach or C-13 UBT is very important for accurate diagnosis.  

Different Methods for H. Pylori Test

There are several methods to test for H. Pylori, such as urea breath test, urease test, biopsy from gastroscopy or histology which needs a special differential stain, etc. 

Breath Test for H. Pylori

The Carbon-13 Urea Breath Test or C-13 UBT is a diagnostic method for H. Pylori infection in the stomach which is the major cause of pathogenesis of duodenal ulcer, the upper intestine connected to the stomach.  H. Pylori is a risk factor for gastritis, stomach ulcer, and stomach cancer.  The test can be performed by measuring labelled carbon dioxide (13 CO2), a byproduct of urea breakdown by an enzyme urease, which is produced by H. Pylori. 13 CO2 then enters the blood stream and is flushed out through lungs as you exhale.  


C-13 UBT

  1. Blow into the first test bag
  2. Swallow a pill with water
  3. Lie down on the left side
  4. Sit up 15 minutes
  5. Blow into the second test bag until it is full
  6. The bags will be sent for further analysis

The Advantages of C-13 UBT

  • Assess the growth and spread of bacteria in the gut
  • Accurate tracking of treatment results
  • No pain, no radiation
  • Safe for baby and pregnant women

Preparation for C-13 UBT

  1. Refrain from food and water at least 6-8 hours before the test or after mid-night to empty the stomach.
  2. Avoid food with urea content such as sugarcane juice, pineapple, corn or food that is made from corn starch, and stop drinking any alcoholic beverages for 12 hours before the test.
  3. Avoid drugs such as antibiotic and bismuth group at least for 4 weeks as well as acid suppressive drugs or PPI (Proton Pump Inhibition) such as Nexium, Pariet, Controloc, Prevacid, Miracid, etc, for 14 days.
  4. Arrive at the hospital 30 minutes before the test.
  5. After completing the C-13 Urea Breath Test, the patient can eat and take medicine normally while waiting for the results.
  6. If there is any side effect such as rash, flatulence, diarrhea, epigastric pain or nausea, you should see a doctor immediately.

Stomach ulcer from H.Pylori can be completely cured. Therefore, it should be treated right away. The longer it is left unattended, the greater the risk of stomach cancer.

For more information, please contact
GI & Liver Center
2nd Floor, D Building, Bangkok Hospital
Mon, Tue, Thu, Sat, Sun 07.00 - 04.00 pm.
Wed, Fri 07.00 am. - 06.00 pm.