What is the Hydrogen Breath Test?
The Hydrogen Breath Test (or HBT) is used as a clinical medical diagnosis for people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and common food intolerances. The test is simple, non-invasive, and is performed after a short period of fasting (typically 8-12 hours).
When testing for conditions like Lactose Intolerance, Fructose Intolerance and Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO). Studies have demonstrated the importance of Hydrogen (H2) and Methane (CH4) production, indicating more than 30% of healthy adult subjects produce Methane in addition to or instead of Hydrogen increasing the ability for medical professionals to review the most comprehensive results to best aid them in their decision of how to best relieve patients IBS or other gastrointestinal disorders/symptoms.
Below are the types of breath-tests we perform:
Lactose Intolerance (Lactose Malabsorption): Lactose intolerant individuals have insufficient levels of an enzyme called lactase. Lactase breaks apart lactose into Glucose and Galactose which can then be absorbed in your digestive system. When you lack this enzyme, the body cannot break down the lactose allowing it to make it to the stomach where bacteria flora break it down causing symptoms like bloating, cramps, diarrhea and nausea.
Fructose Intolerance (Fructose Malabsorption): Fructose is a simple monosaccharide which your digestive system can absorb without the need of additional digestive enzymes (like lactase is produced to breakdown lactose). When your digestive system is unable to absorb fructose before it reaches the large intestine, symptoms like bloating, nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, gas (flatulence) may occur.
Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO): Like the name suggests, SIBO is where bacteria enter your normally sterile small intestine and begin to colonize. Studies have indicated that potentially up to 80% of patients with IBS may in fact have SIBO which a Hydrogen/Methane Breath Test can easily and noninvasively help determine by ordering here. Treatment of SIBO can be done with a short course of antibiotics provided by your medical professional.
How do I prepare for a breath test?
- No smoking, including second-hand smoke, for at least 1 hour before or at any time during the breath test.
- No sleeping or vigorous exercise for at least 1 hour before or at any time during the breath test.
- If you recently had antibiotic therapy, runny diarrhea, colonoscopies, barium studies or enemas, please wait 14 days after completion of the above mentioned prior to starting your breath test.
- If you take any Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPI) which contain Omeprazole, Lansoprazole, Dexlansoprazole, Esomeprazole, Pantoprazole, Rabeprazole , please wait 7 days after completion of the above mentioned prior to starting your breath test.
The day before your test, you must limit your diet.
Here are foods that you CAN eat before you start your 12 hour fast.
- Baked or broiled chicken, fish or turkey. (Salt and pepper only)
- White bread (only)
- Plain steamed white rice
- Clear chicken or beef broth with (no vegetables pieces)
If you are uncertain if something will affect the test, AVOID the product.
How is the test done?
- A breath sample will be collected by having you exhale into bag.
- A solution of lactose, glucose, or fructose will be given to drink. You should drink this whole amount.
- Breath samples will be collected every 20 minutes. After each sample is collected, the sample
Will be removed from the bag with a syringe, allowing collection of another sample into the bag.
- During the test, you should not eat, chew candy, smoke, sleep, or exercise.
- When the test is over, generally after three hours, you may leave.