Hydrogen Breath Test is a non-invasive, sensitive and specific means of diagnosing small bowel sugar malabsorption. The test is commonly used in neonate, paediatric and adult patients to diagnose malabsorption of the carbohydrates such lactose, fructose, sucrose, sorbitol and xylitol. It is also used to investigate small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), that occurs when the bacteria from the colon go back in the small intestine causing abdominal bloating and diarrhoea.
The test makes use of gut bacteria’s ability to digest unabsorbed sugars and convert these to hydrogen, which is then absorbed into the blood and can be measured in exhaled breath. Usually very low quantity of hydrogen is produced by anaerobic bacteria that ferment unabsorbed food normally reaching the colon. However, when the small intestine is not able to absorb properly the food, a big amount of undigested food arrive in the colon and high quantity of hydrogen is produced. Large amount of hydrogen can be produced also when SIBO occurs.
Find out more information regarding Hydrogen Breath Test at Andrea's Digestive Clinic.