We use cookies to so our web site can function correctly. By Clicking "OK" or by clicking into any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more visit the cookies section of our privacy policy.

Privacy Statement

A cookie is a small file which asks permission to be placed on your computer's hard drive. Once you agree, the file is added and the cookie helps analyse web traffic or lets you know when you visit a particular site. Cookies allow web applications to respond to you as an individual. The web application can tailor its operations to your needs, likes and dislikes by gathering and remembering information about your preferences.

We use traffic log cookies to identify which pages are being used. This helps us analyse data about web page traffic and improve our website in order to tailor it to customer needs. We only use this information for statistical analysis purposes.

Overall, cookies help us provide you with a better website, by enabling us to monitor which pages you find useful and which you do not. A cookie in no way gives us access to your computer or any information about you, other than the data you choose to share with us.

Cookie group mandatory

(Req)
These cookies are necessary for the website to function and cannot be switched off in our systems. They are usually only set in response to actions made by you which amount to a request for services, such as setting your privacy preferences, logging in or filling in forms.
You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not then work. These cookies do not store any personally identifiable information.

These cookies are required

Functional

These cookies allow us to adtertise our products to you and allow us to pass this information on to our trusted third parties so that they can advertise our products to you on our behalf
All information these cookies collect is aggregated and therefore anonymous. No personal inforation is shared to third parties. Any personal information collected while using our website could be used for direct marketing from HCA only

Marketing

These cookies allow us to advertise our products to you and allow us to pass this information on to our trusted third parties so that they can advertise our products to you on our behalf
All information these cookies collect is aggregated and therefore anonymous. No personal inforation is shared to third parties. Any personal information collected while using our website could be used for direct marketing from HCA only

Performance Cookies

These cookies allow us to know which pages are the most and least popular and see how visitors move around the site.  All information collect is annonomas unless you provide personal information to us.
If you do not allow these cookies we will not know when you have visited our site, and will not be able to monitor its performance.

Hydrogen breath test

HBT

A test to establish whether you have a small bowel bacterial overgrowth or an intolerance to a specific sugar

About

A hydrogen breath test provides information about the digestion of certain sugars or carbohydrates such as milk sugar (lactose) or fruit sugar (fructose). This helps to determine if you are intolerant to certain sugars. The test also detects abnormal growth of bacteria in the small bowel.

Need to know

  • What happens icon plus

    Your consultant will verify that you have not had anything to eat or drink apart from water for the previous 12 hours. A breath sample will be collected by having you exhale into the test machine. A glass of water mixed with either lactose, lactulose, or fructose will be given to you to drink. You should drink the whole amount. Breath samples will be collected approximately every 15 minutes. During the test, you should take note of your symptoms and inform your consultant if you have your typical symptoms for which the test is being performed. When the test is over, after between two and four hours, you may leave.
  • How to prepare icon plus

    For four weeks before your test you should not take any antibiotics. For one week before your test you should not take any laxatives, stool softeners or stool bulking agents. The day before your test you will have a restricted diet. Your consultant will tell you what you can and cannot eat. Apart from water, you must stop eating and drinking 12 hours before your test. Check with your consultant if you need to take regular medication during this time. Do not chew gum, smoke cigarettes, eat breath mints or other sweets before or during your test. Do not sleep or exercise while the test is being done. Your test may last for two to four hours.
  • Afterwards icon plus

    You will be allowed to go home after the test has finished. You do not need to take any special precautions and can eat and drink normally. There are no serious risks, however you may experience some symptoms during or after the tests. Some patients are sensitive to fermentation of sugars that are administered during tests or may have lactose intolerance. This can cause nausea, bloating and sometimes mild to moderate pain during or soon after the study. However, these symptoms are self-limiting and in the majority of patients settle within a few hours. If you have any concerns regarding symptoms contact your consultant or nurse specialist.
Consultant with patient

Our consultants

From complex surgery to straightforward procedures, we provide exceptional care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

Our facilities

From complex surgery to straightforward procedures, we provide exceptional care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

Request an appointment

We're happy to help you make an appointment with one of our experienced consultants.

This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
back to top