Hydrogen Breath Test

The Hydrogen Breath Test is used for detecting abnormal bacteria growth within the small bowel. Bacterial overgrowth can cause a variety of symptoms including diarrhea, bloating, gas and abdominal cramps.

The Test

The Hydrogen Breath Test is performed by collecting breath samples to test for the presence of hydrogen. This test is conducted in the clinic, and no sedation is given. An initial breath sample is taken and tested. Following that, you will be given a solution of Lactulose (sugar) to drink, after which breath samples will be taken for the next 15-20 minutes. The procedure can take up to three (3) hours. During the test, you are not permitted to eat of drink, smoke, sleep or exercise.

Before Your Appointment

In the 24 hours prior to the test, you will be on a limited diet of plain white rice, baked/broiled chicken, turkey or fish, eggs, clear broth, water and non-flavored coffee and tea. Only salt and pepper may be used to season food. Twelve (12) hours before the test, you will begin fasting - no food, no breath mints or chewing gum, no smoking or exposure to second-hand smoke. If you are diabetic requiring insulin or medication, speak with your primary care physician about adjusting your morning dose.

After Your Appointment

You will be able to resume your regular diet, fluids and medication. The nurse will answer any questions you have before you leave the clinic. You will receive the results of your test on the Patient Portal, or by letter, phone or follow up visit.

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