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Breath hydrogen testing is performed by administering a test dose of a starch, lactulose, which is normally processed by gut bacteria in the colon to produce hydrogen. However, in small bowel bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), a condition that causes bloating, constipation, diarrhea and/or weight loss, an early rise in hydrogen production followed by the later colonic peak is detected in the exhaled breath.
Breath hydrogen testing involves serial exhalations into a machine and it is safe and easy to perform. However, to improve test accuracy certain foods (bread, pasta, fiber) and smoking need to be avoided prior to testing. Pre-test mouth washing with an antiseptic should also be performed.
Risk for complications: - Discomfort: -