Breath Hydrogen and Methane Testing

When carbohydrates/sugars are malabsorbed they remain in the intestine where they can be subject to bacterial fermentation. This fermentation process involves the production of hydrogen (H2) and methane (CH4) gases which are then excreted in the breath [1]. These H2 and CH4 breath tests are simple and non-invasive tests which can be used in the diagnosis of oro-caecal transit time, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) and carbohydrate/sugar malabsorption (fructose, lactose, sorbitol, mannitol and sucrose) [1]. The malabsorption of carbohydrate/sugar is a key trigger of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)- type symptoms such as diarrhoea and/or constipation, bloating, excess flatulence, headaches and lack of energy [1].

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The research shows that a proper diagnosis of carbohydrate/sugar malabsorpotion or SIBO via breath testing and an appropriate dietary intervention significantly reduces the severity and frequency of gastrointestinal symptoms in IBS [1].

If you experience uncomfortable gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhoea and/or constipation, bloating, excess flatulence, headaches and lack of energy you may be a carbohydrate/sugar malabsorber or suffering from SIBO. Contact your GP first to eliminate any other causes. If you are believed to be a carbohydrate/sugar malabsorber visit the stream diagnostics website for more information about breath testing.


References

[1] Rana SV, Malik A. Breath tests and irritable bowel syndrome. World J Gastroenterol. 2014 Jun 28; 20(24): 7587-7601