What Is a Hydrogen Breath Test and What Is It Used For?

Hydrogen Breath

Understanding What a Hydrogen Breath Test Is and What It Can Be Used For

Hydrogen breath tests are gaining attention in the health field, but most of us are unsure what the procedure entails. A hydrogen breath test is a diagnostic tool used to detect certain health issues related to the digestive system, such as those caused by bacterial overgrowth of the small intestine.

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A hydrogen breath test is a simple, non-invasive test that screens for the presence of hydrogen and/or methane in your breath. Hydrogen and methane are both indicated by the presence of bacteria in the small intestine. When bacteria break down carbohydrates, they can produce hydrogen and methane.

What Is the Hydrogen Breath Test Used For?

The hydrogen breath test is used to diagnose a variety of digestive problems, including:

  • Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)
  • Lactose intolerance
  • Carbohydrate malabsorption

It’s also used to screen for specific types of carbohydrates malabsorption, such as fructose and lactose. In some cases, the test may be used to detect the presence of other gases, such as hydrogen sulfide.

How Does the Hydrogen Breath Test Work?

The procedure is quite simple. After you consume a specified amount of carbohydrates, either in the form of a sugar drink or lactose, you will be asked to blow into a tube or machine at time intervals for about 2 to 3 hours. The gas content of your breath is then tested and analyzed for the presence of hydrogen or methane. A positive result could indicate the presence of bacteria.

The Benefits of the Hydrogen Breath Test in Diagnosing Health Conditions

The hydrogen breath test is a relatively inexpensive and non-invasive way of testing for digestive problems, and can give a good indication of small intestine bacterial overgrowth, lactose intolerance and carbohydrate malabsorption. It’s also an invaluable tool in helping to tailor diets and evaluate supplement treatment since it is able to detect the presence of different gases.

The hydrogen breath test is a reliable, affordable and safe way to determine the presence of various health problems. If you’re experiencing frequent digestive issues, it’s worth speaking to your doctor and seeing if a hydrogen breath test may be an option for you.

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