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)
Hydrogen breath tests are useful to diagnose intolerance to lactose, fructose, sucrose and Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) which can cause GI symptoms
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 trigger 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 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?
The breath sample submitted 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.
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.
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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.Dr. Shawn Khodadadian has either authored or reviewed and approved this content. 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