Hydrogen breath tests
Hydrogen breath tests are designed to assess maldigestion of lactose, fructose or similar sugars. It is used to find the cause of flatulence, abdominal pain and diarrhoea.
These problems may be a consequence of maldigestion of sugars such as lactose or fructose. If these sugars are not digested in the small intestine, they are consumed by the bacteria in the large intestine and in the process gases are produced. These gases are also partially excreted thorough lungs, which can be determined in the exhaled air.
Basic information about the examination
Frequently asked questions
The hydrogen breath test is a simple, reliable and does not cause discomfort to the patient.
After proper preparation, the subject drinks a certain amount of a test sugar on an empty stomach.
Ingestion of sugar can lead to abdominal bloating or passing stools.
Every half hour in the next 4-5 hours the patient exhales into a plastic bag. The exhaled air is analysed for hydrogen and methane content. If the concentrations of both gases increase significantly, the test is positive.