How do I prepare my child for the lactose test?

The test requires that your child has no food or liquids (including water) 8 hours before the test. In addition, please have your child not eat or drink the following the day before the test:

  • Apricot, apple, pear or prune juice 24 hours before the test
  • Diet drinks 24 hours before the test
  • Smoking at least 12 hours before the test
  • Toothpaste or mouthwash the night before or the morning of the test
  • White meat or white bread the night before the test
  • Sucking candies or gum at least 12 hours before the test

Please note: Your child cannot be on antibiotics for 2 weeks before this test. If he/she is placed on antibiotics, please call to reschedule at 617-726-8705.

How does the lactose test work?

Your child will be asked to drink the sugarwater solution. We will then take samples of the exhaled breath at various intervals. As a comparison, we will take a breath sample before your child drinks the solution. The procedure is simple and painless, and it involves no needles.

How long is the lactose test?

The entire test requires several samples taken over a period of about 3 hours. During this time, your child may do a quiet activity while waiting between samples. No foods or liquids may be consumed during the test. If you have any questions about the test, please call either your doctor or the Pediatric GI nurse at 617-724- 0732.

What should I bring for the lactose test?

You may bring a bottle or sippy cup for your child to drink from. This often helps your child be more comfortable with drinking the sugarwater solution. You may use Crystal Light powder provided to flavor the drink. You may also wish to bring some quiet activities for your child to do during the test period.

Please report to MassGeneral Hospital 32 Fruit Street, Boston, MA
Pediatric GI, Yawkey Building 6B-6800

Rev. 8/2012. This document is intended to provide health related information so that you may be better informed. It is not a substitute for a doctor's medical advice and should not be relied upon for treatment for specific medical conditions.