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Breath Hydrogen Test

Breath Hydrogen Test

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 or other sugar 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 or 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 patient.

Symptoms frequently reported by the lactose intolerant patient are cramping, bloating, gas, and/or diarrhea.

Time for test: Approximately 4 hours or less. 

What does the examination involve?

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, a breath specimen will be collected every half hour or 1 hour, depending on which test or product was ordered.  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.  Results of your test will be faxed to your doctor's office on the same day as your test. 

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.


Please click here for imporant patient preparation guidelines.

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