Manhattan Gastroenterology
  • MIDTOWN 51 EAST 25TH, 4 FL New York, NY, 10010
  • UPPER EAST SIDE 983 PARK AVE, STE 1D New York, NY, 10028
  • UNION SQUARE 55 W. 17TH ST STE 102 New York, NY, 10011

What is a hydrogen breath test?

A hydrogen breath test is a test that uses the measurement of hydrogen in the breath to diagnose several conditions that cause gastrointestinal symptoms.  These include:

  • Lactose Intolerance
  • Fructose Intolerance
  • Sucrose Intolerance
  • Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)

Many gastrointestinal disorders exhibit similar symptoms and are difficult to distinguish, such as gas, bloating, diarrhea, and other symptoms. These substances  can also be triggers for patients with irritable bowel syndrome or IBS.   At Manhattan Gastroenterology, hydrogen breath tests are now available to help us distinguish some of these causes of common gastrointestinal symptoms.  These tests are useful to diagnose intolerance to lactose, fructose, sucrose, and Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).  SIBO is a condition affecting the small intestine and occurs when bacteria that normally grow in the colon start growing in the small intestine in large amounts.  By simply testing the breath of our patients after ingesting certain substances, we can help to diagnose these conditions, which may be triggers for their symptoms.

How do I prepare for a hydrogen breath test?

Prepping for a hydrogen breath test is not like a bowel prep for a colonoscopy. You will be provided with specific instructions for preparing for the test, which will include but isn’t limited to eating a low carbohydrate diet for a period of time.  The purpose of this diet is to avoid foods that may produce gas in the intestinal tract, which could cause inaccurate test results.  Patients with recent diarrheal episodes, a recent colon prep, or recent antibiotic use may have to have their test postponed. Our staff will give you a more detailed explanation of the preparation for the test, which is mainly focused on your diet prior to the test.  We can also demonstrate the test for you so that you will have an easier time doing the test at home.

What can I expect from a hydrogen breath test?

This test requires that you drink a solution of lactose, fructose, sucrose, or glucose in water.  After drinking the solution, you will be asked to breathe into a plastic bag. Breath samples are obtained at specific time intervals depending on what we are testing for. The breath sample will be analyzed for hydrogen content to determine if you are able to properly break down the lactose, fructose or sucrose, or if you have bacterial overgrowth.

★ ★ ★ ★ ★The entire staff was welcoming and made the visit quick and seamless. The office is clean, and the staff even make a point in offering coffee or water while you wait. The doctor was very friendly and to the point. Highly recommend choosing this office.

Important Reminder: This information is only intended to provide guidance, not definitive medical advice. Please consult a doctor about your specific condition. Only trained, experienced board certified GI doctors like our doctors can determine an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment.

For more information about the conditions we treat or to schedule a consultation with one of our doctors, please contact our NYC office. We offer the most comprehensive hydrogen breath tests in NYC.

Updated on Aug 3, 2021 by Dr. Shawn Khodadadian (Gastroenterologist) of Manhattan Gastroenterology Manhattan Gastroenterology Locations: Manhattan Gastroenterology (Upper East Side) 983 Park Ave Ste 1D, NY 10028
(212) 427-8761
Manhattan Gastroenterology (Midtown) 51 East 25th Street Ste 407, NY 10010
(212) 533-2400
Manhattan Gastroenterology (Union Square) 55 W 17th St Ste 102, NY 10011
(212) 378-9983


The information on this website is to provide general information. The information on this website does NOT reflect definitive medical advice and self diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a physician for a consultation and examination regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs as they may signify a serious illness or condition. An accurate diagnosis and treatment plan should only be made by qualified doctor in order to exclude a serious condition.