Using The Hydrogen Breath Test
January 1, 2013 | By Sarah Ryder USA, LLC

As easy as blowing up a balloon, you can find out what's causing your digestive discomfort.

Do you love to eat foods like ice cream, macaroni and cheese, or quesadillas, but end up with an upset stomach? Do you think you may be lactose intolerant?

A major part of the world's population cannot properly digest milk and dairy products. If you want to confirm your suspicions, you could take a hydrogen breath test. Less scary than it sounds, hydrogen breath testing can be provided by your doctor or allergist.

Understanding Lactose Intolerance

The small intestine manufactures an enzyme called lactase, which helps the body break down sugars, including lactose, found in milk products. Most adults can only process small amounts of lactose. A lactose hydrogen breath test will examine your body's reaction to lactose, and could be the first step to making better decisions for an improved lifestyle.

Symptoms that Indicate the Need for Hydrogen Breath Testing

There are many different symptoms of lactose intolerance; they can vary from person to person. Here are some common occasional symptoms that may be signs suggesting you should take a lactose hydrogen breath test:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Bloating
  • Excessive flatulence
  • Abdominal cramping

How Does The Hydrogen Breath Test Work?

Although the symptoms of lactose intolerance can regularly interrupt life, many people delay testing, thinking a hydrogen breath test could be painful. Hydrogen breath testing is a quick and painless way to determine if your body is having trouble digesting lactose. Once you choose a qualified, trained allergist or a general practitioner to perform the exam, know this:

  • You'll be asked to refrain from eating any dairy products for at least 24 hours before the appointment.
  • During the test, you will breathe normally into a balloon, so that the doctor or allergist can determine your body's natural hydrogen levels.
  • You'll then be asked to consume a lactose beverage, and breathe into the balloon again.
  • Your hydrogen levels will be measured a second time to determine how your body reacts to milk products.

What To Do After the Hydrogen Breath Test

If your hydrogen breath test results are positive, the simplest thing you can do to improve your health is to eliminate what is causing your digestive problems. Your body's reactions can be indicators that a change needs to be made.

If giving up cheesy pizza, milkshakes and other dairy products is impossible for you, probiotic supplements can support the breakdown of foods, including lactose found in dairy products.*

Probiotic food sources are also available to aid with digestion.* Most grocery stores or health food stores carry kefir, yogurt, miso, tempeh, kimchi, natta, sauerkraut and/or other fermented foods containing small amounts of lactobacillus probiotics that can improve the way you feel.* If you don't particularly enjoy these natural alternatives, a probiotic supplement can be an easier way to gain health benefits from probiotics.*

Probiotics, or beneficial bacteria, can help balance bacteria levels for a better-functioning digestive system. * Try reducing your lactose intake as much as possible, and add support with probiotics.*

The content material of this article or webpage is for educational and consumer information purposes only, under section 5 of DSHEA.

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