breathe test-Hydrogen breath tests help to diagnose either intolerance to sugars or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).
The test measures how the amount of hydrogen present in your breath changes after you consume a sugar solution. There’s usually very little hydrogen in your breath. Having a higher level of it usually indicates a problem, either from sugar tolerance or bacterial growth in your small intestine. Why is it done?
Your doctor will perform a hydrogen breath test if they suspect that you have an intolerance to a specific sugar or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).
Sugar intolerance means you have trouble digesting a specific type of sugar. For example, some people can’t tolerate lactose, a sugar found in milk or other dairy products.
Lactose is normally broken down in the small intestine by an enzyme called lactase. People who are lactose intolerant can’t make this enzyme. As a result, the lactose moves into their large intestine, where it’s broken down by bacteria instead. This process makes hydrogen, which will show up during a hydrogen breath test.
You can also have intolerance to other sugars, such as fructose. Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth
SIBO refers to having an unusual amount of bacteria in your small intestine. This can cause many symptoms, including bloating, diarrhea, and malabsorption.
If you have SIBO, the bacteria in your small intestine will break down the sugar solution given during the hydrogen breath test. This results in hydrogen, which a hydrogen breath test will pick up. How is it done?
To perform a hydrogen breath test,doctor will start by having you gently blow into a bag to get an initial breath sample.
Next, they’ll have you drink solution containing different types of sugar. You’ll then breath into a bag every 15 to 20 minutes as your body digests the solution. After each breath, doctor will use a syringe to empty the bag.
While hydrogen breath tests are fairly simple to do, they can take two to three hours, so you may want to bring a book to read in between breaths.