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What happens during a hydrogen breath test?

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It takes about 2 hours. You will be asked to drink a lactose-containing beverage. The beverage may cause cramping, bloating, gas, or diarrhea.

Fifteen minutes after drinking the beverage, you will be instructed to blow up balloon-like bags every 15 minutes for two hours.

The air you breathe into these bags is tested for the presence of hydrogen. Hydrogen and other gases are produced when undigested lactose in the colon is fermented by bacteria.

That could indicate lactose intolerance.

SOURCE: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on October 24, 2017

SOURCE: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on October 24, 2017

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