If you have belly problems – bloating, gas, pain – and your doctor doesn’t know why, you may be in luck.
A simple breath test can help determine the cause of your gastrointestinal symptoms. Ruling out common intolerances like lactose, gluten and glucose and bacterial overgrowth can set you on a path to the proper diet to alleviate the symptoms.
New research shows that intestinal discomfort can be caused by the body’s inability to absorb short-chain sugars. Fermentable oligo-, di-, and monosaccharides, and polyols (FODMAPs) may trigger reactions particularly in patients with irritable bowel syndrome. Bacterial overgrowth occurs in the small intestine and can cause bloating, diarrhea, pain and dyspepsia, which can be misdiagnosed as IBS.
The difference is important to treat a patient a properly -- bacterial overgrowth responds to antibiotics while IBS does not. Dr. Shawn Khodadadian, gastroenterologist and director of clinical nutrition at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, recommends his patients take a breath taste to measure the hydrogen and methane gas produced by bacteria that move from the blood stream into the lungs.
Patients give a baseline breath sample, then ingest lactose, fructose, or lactulose and take another test. The results help show what substance may be causing them problems and allows doctors to prescribe the proper diet. For some patients, it can mean they can eat dairy again, for others, it may mean sugar is not the culprit.
Ice cream, anyone?
Source: Medpage Today