The hydrogen- based breath tests are a group of non-invasive, painless tests which allow to diagnose bad absorption of certain substances (mainly complex carbohydrates, like lactose, sacarose, sorbitol and fructose), as well as rule out the diagnosis of intestinal bacterial overgrowth.
These test are carried out measuring hydrogen present in exhaled air after taking a carbohydrates load, which is the reflex of the amount of hydrogen formed by the intestinal flora.
These tests are performed at the doctor´s office, being painless and lacking health risks. Nevertheless, if the patient is intolerant, several mild symptoms might be noticed (bloating, diarrhea or abdominal distension, among others). These symptoms are a manifestation of the carbohydrate intolerance itself, and usually passes by a few hours later.
The tests consist of blowing in a machine at a regular time intervals after the intake of a measured dose of a certain sugar. The duration of the test will be determined according to the type of carbohydrate intolerance to be measured. The maximum duration of the test if 4 hours in selected cases. It is mandatory that the test is performed after the patient have meticulously fulfilled a few instructions: