Hydrogen Breath Test

A hydrogen breath test is used to diagnose various digestive disorders that mainly cause diarrhoea and flatulence. Hydrogen is produced during the decomposition of carbohydrates in the small intestine.

A special device can measure the amount of hydrogen in exhaled air. Patients are asked to drink different types of sugared beverages, depending on which type of digestive disorder is being tested: lactose in the case of suspected lactose intolerance, lactulose or glucose in the case of bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine, or fructose in the cases of fructose intolerance or malabsorption. The breath test usually lasts 3 hours.