St. Mary's Day Endoscopy Suite Treatment & Procedure Information -
Breath Hydrogen Test
Breath Hydrogen Test
This test is a very precise measurement of the amount of hydrogen produced in the colon after a person drinks a lactose-containing product . Lactose that is not absorbed in the small intestine is fermented in the colon. Hydrogen gas produced in the fermentation process passes into the bloodstream and is released through the lungs. By collecting and measuring the samples of breath at half-hour intervals, we are able to determine the amount of hydrogen expelled. The lactose-intolerant patient will produce higher levels of hydrogen than will a lactose-tolerant person.
Symptoms frequently reported by the lactose intolerant patient are cramping, bloating, gas, and diarrhea.
In order to collect breath specimens which are accurate, the following instructions should be followed:
- Do not eat bran or other high fiber cereals for at least 12 hours prior to the test.
- Do not eat or drink after midnight. Only water is allowed until after the test is completed.
- Do not smoke for at least two hours prior to your scheduled test and not until the last specimen is completed.
- If you have taken antibiotics during the past two weeks, an inaccurate test could occur.
- If you have experienced severe diarrhea the day of the test, please notify us at (812) 485-4911.
What does the examination involve?
(Time: approximately 4 hours)
After breathing into a bag, the specimens collected will be used for analysis. A baseline specimen will be collected first and then you will drink a lactose-containing product. After drinking this product, a breath specimen will be collected every half hour. Up to 10 specimens are necessary for a satisfactory diagnostic study. The nurse performing the analysis will inform you as to the number of specimens needed. If you develop any cramping, bloating, gas or diarrhea during the time the specimens are being collected, be sure to report these symptoms to the nurse.
This is not an uncomfortable test. The time between the specimen collection can be spent watching television or reading. After the final specimen has been collected, you may return to your regular diet and report to work immediately, if you wish. Results of the analysis will be mailed to your physician within three days.
You will be provided with a patient room to use, or you may return to the Endoscopy Suite waiting room between the half-hour intervals.
Registration and Parking
Please park in any of the visitors parking lots. Please register in the main lobby (Washington Avenue front entrance). You will then be directed to the Endoscopy Suite. If you have any questions, please call (812) 485-4911.