Hydrogen breath testing is a non invasive measurement of hydrogen on the breath, as a result of sugars or carbohydrates not being digested fully. Bacteria in the colon digest and convert sugars and carbohydrates into gases, the main gas being hydrogen. Under normal circumstances most sugars and carbohydrates are digested in the small intestine, however when this does not happen they then reach the colon where there are a larger number of bacteria and as such cause an increase in the amount of hydrogen being produced.
As a result, the hydrogen that is produced by bacteria is absorbed through the wall of the small or large intestine. The hydrogen then travels to the lungs where it is released and exhaled in the breath where it can be meas-ured by the H2 Check.
One of the most frequent hydrogen breath tests is for lactose intolerance. Lactose is a sugar found in milk and other dairy products. Unless it is changed into glucose it cannot be absorbed into the body. This change happens when the lactose passes through the stomach into the small intestine and comes into contact with something called Lactase. If there is insufficient lactase present the lactose cannot be broken down, this in turn leads to Lactose Intolerance.