A hydrogen breath test provides information about the digestion of certain sugars or carbohydrates, such as milk sugar (lactose) or fruit sugar (fructose). This will help determine if you are intolerant to certain sugars. One example is the use of this test to detectlactose intolerance, a disorder in which people have symptoms from abnormal processing of lactose, a substance in many foods including milk and ice cream.
The test is also used for detecting abnormal growth of bacteria within the small bowel by having the patient ingest lactulose. Bacterial overgrowth cancause a variety of symptoms including diarrhea, bloating, gas, and abdominal cramps.
The day before your test:
You may consume only the following foods and drinks: plain white bread, plain white rice, plain white potatoes, baked or broiled chicken or fish, water, non-flavored black coffee or tea. Only salt may be used to flavor your food. Butter or margarine is notpermitted. Soda Pop/cola drinks are notpermitted. You must stop eating and drinking 12 hours before the test.– it could give false results for the test. Specifically, avoid beans,pasta, fiber cereals, high fiber foods. The night before the test, have an early dinner of rice and meat.
The day of your test:
You should not eat or drink anything in the morning.You may take your medications with a small amount of water. If you are diabetic requiring insulin or diabetic pills, ask your physician if you should change your morning dose. Generally, halfof your normal long acting insulin is given. Oral hypoglycemic medications are usually not taken that morning until completion of the test and resumption of eating meals.
The Test Procedure
- The technician will verify that you have not had anything to eat or drink after midnight
- A breath sample will be collected by having you exhale into device.
- A solution of lactose, lactulose, or fructose will be given to drink. You should drink this whole amount.
- Breath samples will be collected every 15-20 minutes.
- During the test, you should take notice of your symptoms and inform the technician if you have your typical symptoms for which the test is being performed.
- During the test, you should not eat, chew candy, smoke, sleep, or exercise.
- When the test is over, generally after 120-180 minutes.