Hydrogen Breath Test
What is a Hydrogen Breath Test?
A hydrogen breath test provides information about the digestion of certain sugars or carbohydrates, such as lactose (milk sugar) or fructose (fruit sugar). This test will help determine if you are intolerant to certain sugars.
The hydrogen breath test can also be used to detect lactose intolerance. People with this disorder have symptoms from the abnormal processing of lactose, a substance in many foods including milk and ice cream.
The hydrogen breath test is also used for detecting bacterial overgrowth within the small bowel by having the patient ingest lactulose. Bacterial overgrowth can cause a variety of symptoms including diarrhea, bloating, gas and abdominal cramping.
Hydrogen Breath Test Procedure
The technician will instruct patients to exhale into collection bags at specific time intervals. A solution of lactulose or kristulose will be consumed by each patient. During the test you will not be permitted to eat, drink, smoke, chew, sleep or exercise.
Please notify the office if you have an allergy to Cherries (solution is cherry flavored)
The test takes up to three hours to complete. After all necessary collections have been obtained, patients will be able to leave. Results will be processed and communicated to the patients at a later date.
Please allow sufficient travel time in your schedule. All patients are expected to arrive at 7:45am. Anyone arriving late will be asked to reschedule. This is a timed test that needs to begin promptly.
Urea Breath Test
Additionally, we offer a urea breath test, which detects the H pylori bacteria that causes ulcers.
Hydrogen Breath Test Preparation
Medications and procedures to avoid. For four weeks before your test, you should not take any antibiotics. For one week before the test, do not take any laxative (e.g. Colace, Milk of Magnesia and Ex-Lax) or stool bulking agents (e.g. Citrucel and Metamucil), and you should not undergo any test that requires cleansing of the bowel, such as a colonoscopy or barium enema.
Foods to avoid. Additionally, certain foods must be avoided, including:
- Grain products
- Whole grain products, including high fiber cereals, pasta and melba toast
- Fruit and fruit juices
- Applesauce, apricots, bananas, cantaloupe, canned fruit cocktail, grapes, honeydew melon, peaches and watermelon
- Raw and dried fruits like raisins and berries
- Yogurt which contains fruit
- Vegetables and vegetable juice
- Potatoes, alfalfa sprouts, beets, green/yellow beans, carrots, celery, cucumber, eggplant, lettuce, mushrooms, green/red peppers, squash and zucchini
- Vegetables from the cruciferous family such as broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, Swiss chard, beans and lentils
- Nuts and seeds, as well as foods that may contain seeds
- All dairy products, such as milk, cheese, ice cream, yogurt, butter and margarine
- All soda drinks
Foods you can eat. Examples of foods and drinks that you may consume include:
- Plain white bread
- Broth and bouillon
- White rice
- Baked or broiled chicken, fish and meat
- Water only
- Salt may be used to flavor your foods
On the day before the test, follow these instructions:
- 24 Hours prior. You must avoid slowly digesting foods like beans, vegetables, fruits, brans and high fiber foods. This will reduce the chance of hydrogen and methane being produced from the food sources that may interfere with the results of the test.
- 12 Hours prior. You must stop eating and drinking 12 hours before the test. Do not smoke tobacco, chew gum, eat breath mints or candy one hour prior to the test. Please brush your teeth at least two hours prior to appointment.
You may continue to take your usual prescription medicines with a small amount of water the morning of the test. Oral hypoglycemic medications are usually not taken that morning until completion of the test and resumption of eating normal diet. If insulin is needed, take half of your normal long acting insulin. Further directions can be obtained from the physician.
Does my insurance cover the hydrogen breath test?
It remains the responsibility of the patient to contact their insurance company to verify coverage of the breath test (CPT code 91065). Co-payments will also be collected at time of service where indicated.