Hydrogen Breath


Hydrogen Breath

What is hydrogen breath testing?

Hydrogen breath test is a simple way to measure whether your child can digest sugar. This may be the sugar in milk (lactose), table sugar (sucrose), or the sugar in the fruit (fructose). It may also be used to test for a problem called bacterial overgrowth.

How do I prepare my child for the test?

There are a few important steps to prepare your child for the test. 

  • Your child should not have antibiotics in the 10 days before the test.  Your GI provider may ask you to change or hold medications prior to the test.
  • For dinner the evening before the test, your child should have only: Meat cooked without any seasoning, Rice, Water.
  • Twelve (12) hours before the test, children one year or older have nothing to eat or drink. They should not have candy or gum. If your child is younger than one year old, check with the doctor about what he or she may drink.
  • In the morning of the test your child should not brush his or her teeth with toothpaste prior to the test. You may brush the teeth with only water.

What happens during the test?

The nurse will weight your child. Your child will give a breath sample and then drink a sweet liquid. Infants having this test breathe into a mask like an oxygen mask. Older children blow into a mouthpiece attached to a bag.

As the child breathes out, the bag fills with air. You and your child will wait in the waiting room for up to 3 hours. A nurse will come out every 15 to 30 minutes to ask your child to give a breath sample. Please stay in the waiting area.

What can we do during the testing?

Here are some helpful hints during the test:

  • Your child should not have anything to eat or drink. You may wipe his or his lips with a damp—not wet—cloth.
  • Help your child choose some favorite toys to play with while you are waiting.
  • Bring a snack for after the child’s test.
  • A parent or other adult caregiver must come with the child to the test.

When will we obtain the results?

After talking with your child’s doctor, the nurse will let you know when the test is over. Check with your Texas Children’s Hospital gastroenterology provider about the test results.

Who do I contact for any further questions?

If you have any further questions or need to reschedule, please contact your Texas Children’s Hospital gastroenterology provider on weekdays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.