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The hydrogen breath test is a test that uses the measurement of hydrogen in the breath to identify lactose or an abnormal growth of bacteria in the intestine. Lactose intolerance is the inability to digest lactose, the sugar found in milk. An abnormal growth of bacteria can result from slow transit of food through the bowels. Both conditions can cause a variety of symptoms including abdominal pain, bloating, cramping, gas, and diarrhea.