A hydrogen breath test provides information about the digestion of certain sugars or carbohydrates. Different types of breath tests can be used to diagnose lactose intolerance, fructose intolerance, and/or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). Common symptoms associated with lactose intolerance, fructose intolerance, and/or SIBO include abdominal bloating, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain and nausea, among others. If your physician believes that your symptoms could be related to an intolerance of these sugars or SIBO, he/she may order one or more of these tests for you to complete.
Each 3-hour test requires drinking a sugar solution (lactose, fructose, or lactulose) mixed with water. Before and after drinking the solution, breath samples are obtained to be analyzed for hydrogen and methane content. Abnormal production of hydrogen and/or methane may indicate improper digestion of the sugar used in your test. If you test positive for SIBO, your physician will decide the appropriate regimen to treat the condition. If you test positive for lactose or fructose intolerance, certain foods high in these sugars may need to be eliminated to help control symptoms. MGI’s registered dietitian can meet with you to help guide you through this process.
Hydrogen breath tests are one of many different tests used to diagnose and treat gastrointestinal disorders. Your gastroenterologist will determine if a hydrogen breath test would be beneficial for your medical condition and plan of care.
To schedule an office visit with one of our gastroenterologists call (402) 397-7057 between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.