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How the Hydrogen and Methane Breath Test Can Help You with Gut Issues

This is a simple guide on understanding Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) and how the hydrogen and methane breath test can help diagnose and treat this often-overlooked condition.

What is SIBO?

Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) occurs when there is an excessive growth of bacteria in the small intestine. This imbalance can lead to uncomfortable symptoms such as:

  • Bloating: Excess bacteria ferment food in the small intestine, producing gas that causes a swollen and uncomfortable feeling in the abdomen.
  • Gas: The fermentation process by the bacteria produces hydrogen and methane gases, leading to increased flatulence and belching.
  • Diarrhea: The excessive bacteria can disrupt normal digestion and absorption, leading to loose stools or diarrhea as food passes through the intestines more quickly.
  • Abdominal Pain: The accumulation of gas and the movement of poorly digested food through the intestines can cause cramping and abdominal discomfort.

If left untreated, SIBO can cause nutrient malabsorption, leading to more serious health issues.

How the Hydrogen and Methane Breath Test Works

The hydrogen breath test that we do here in Dubai is a non-invasive procedure designed to diagnose SIBO. Here’s how it works:

  1. Preparation: Follow a special diet the day before the test and fast overnight to ensure accurate results.
  2. The Test: Drink a sugar solution, then breathe into a device at regular intervals.
  3. Detection: Bacteria in the small intestine produce hydrogen or methane when they digest sugar. High levels of these gases in your breath can indicate SIBO.

What to Expect During the Test

  • Duration: The test typically takes about 2 to 3 hours.
  • Procedure: It's simple and straightforward with minimal discomfort.

Treatment Options for SIBO

Once diagnosed, treatment for SIBO can vary and may include:

  • Antibiotics: To reduce bacterial overgrowth
  • Dietary Changes: To limit fuel for the bacteria
  • Probiotics: To restore a healthy balance of gut bacteria

Benefits of Treating SIBO

Treating SIBO can lead to:

  • Reduced symptoms like bloating and abdominal pain
  • Improved nutrient absorption
  • Overall enhanced digestive health

Many patients report feeling significantly better within just a few weeks of starting treatment.

Quick Turnaround for Results

Most patients can expect to receive their results the same day, allowing for a prompt start to treatment.

Take the First Step Towards Better Digestive Health

Understanding and diagnosing SIBO is the first step towards getting the right treatment and feeling better. If you’re experiencing digestive symptoms that just don’t seem to go away, it’s important to get medical advice and get a full checkup with your doctor.


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Dr. Gyawali is exclusively available at

Mubadala Health – Jumeirah, Dubai

Sunset Mall - First Floor
Jumeirah Beach Rd Jumeirah 3
Dubai, UAE

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I was referred to Dr Gyawali for a manometry test. He carefully studied my medical history. and realised that my previous doctor had repeatedly missed a significant diagnosis. He immediately referred me on to the necessary specialists for urgent treatment. I cannot thank him enough..

Patient at Queen's Hospital

29th February 2020