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Hyrdogen Breath Test – These tests are useful for detecting fructose malabsorption, lactose intolerance and other conditions including small bowel bacterial overgrowth. 

Undigested carbohydrate (eg: fructose, lactose) can lead to the formation of various gases, including hydrogen (and/or methane for some people), by the bacteria in the large bowl. This hydrogen (or methane) gas is absorbed across the lining of the large bowel into the blood stream, where it is carried to the lungs and exhaled. The exhaled gas can be detected and measured by a breath hydrogen (or methane) detector. If there is a significant rise above the starting value, it can indicate the presence of fructose intolerance or lactose malabsorption. 

These tests are not available in every state of Australia. A list of testing centres is available from . Bad breath testing procedures may vary form centre to centre. The centre will provide you with information about a special diet that will need to be followed the day before the tests. Theis pre-test diet is, in essence, a low FODMAP diet. 

The tests are useful for diagnosing conditions such as fructose malabsorption and lactose intolerance, however they require specialist interpretation. The tests are not essential to confirm the Low FODMAP diet works for you – your symptom improvement can often be the most useful guide. 
Information sourced from Low FODMAP Diet by Dr Sue Shepherd 


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