Hydrogen Breath Test
What is a Hydrogen Breath Test?
Doctors have found that large amounts of hydrogen may be produced in the body when there are gastrointestinal issues. At our medical practice, we use the Hydrogen Breath Test to determine Lactose Intolerance and Bacterial Overgrowth.
- What is Lactose Intolerance?
- This condition occurs when your body in unable to digest milk, or foods comprised of dairy products, with the result manifesting in diarrhea, belly pain, and excessive gas.
- What is Bacterial Overgrowth?
- Bacterial Overgrowth is a condition caused by excessive bacteria that collects within the small intestine, and is responsible for pain, bloating, diarrhea, and Vitamin B12 deficiency.
How does Hydrogen Breath Testing work?
For Lactose Intolerance, you will drink a liquid that has lactose in it. Then, you will be asked to breathe into testing equipment every 30 minutes. Every time you breathe into the machine, it will measure how much hydrogen is contained in the air you breathe out.
Bacterial Overgrowth will cause large amounts of gas to be produced if a person is having problems with digesting food, and the Hydrogen Breath Test will be administered to determine the levels of hydrogen within a person’s digestive system.
What preparation is required for the Hydrogen Breath Test?
You will be asked to fast for at least 12 hours. However, prior to testing, you will be asked to not injest sugar or milk products.
What symptoms indicate either Lactose Intolerance or Bacterial Overgrowth?
Both of these conditions will cause not only abdominal pain and/or bloating, but flatulence and diarrhea are also common indications. Vomiting may also occur.
Are treatments available for these conditions?
Yes, but treatments will vary depending on the severity of the problem. You may be asked to make dietary changes, or add enzyme supplements, or antibiotic therapy, to your meal plans.
Source: AMA Complete Encyclopedia, Copyright 2003, American Medical Association
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