How Do You Know if You’re Lactose Intolerant?

Woman holding a glass of milk and having a stomachache.

Lactose intolerance is a common condition that, although harmless, can have many uncomfortable symptoms. The good news for people with lactose intolerance is that there are many natural treatments available.

What Is Lactose Intolerance?

Lactose intolerance is the inability to fully digest the lactose, or sugar, in milk. Those who develop lactose intolerance don’t produce enough lactase, the enzyme responsible for lactose digestion, in their small intestine. Lactose intolerance can develop in three ways.

  • Primary lactose intolerance occurs suddenly in adulthood.
  • Secondary lactose intolerance occurs following surgery, injury, or illness involving the small intestine.
  • Congenital lactose intolerance occurs when a child is born with the condition due to the passing on of the same gene by each parent.

What Are the Symptoms of Lactose Intolerance?

This condition has many symptoms, but gastrointestinal symptoms between 30 minutes and two hours following the eating or drinking of lactose are most common. These symptoms can be mild to severe and include:

  • Gas
  • Bloating
  • Stomach pain
  • Irritable bowel syndrome

Headaches, eczema, fatigue, and joint pain have also been reported by those with lactose intolerance. These can arise due to a milk allergy or another food allergy.

How Is Lactose Intolerance Diagnosed?

Typically, answering questions about your symptoms is all that’s required to diagnose lactose intolerance. A practitioner’s suspicion may also be confirmed by asking you to avoid dairy foods and monitor your symptoms.

Blood sugar and hydrogen breath tests can reveal whether or not you’re breaking down lactose normally, and may be ordered by your practitioner.

Treatment for Lactose Intolerance

Doctor talking with old patient

The best way to ensure you receive the right treatment for lactose intolerance is to first confirm the condition with a lactose tolerance test. Testing is important because you can experience the above symptoms but have no problem absorbing and digesting lactose normally.

Food Restriction and Nutrient Replacement

Limiting or eliminating lactose-containing foods from your diet is typically the first step in treating the condition. Foods to restrict or avoid include ice cream, cheese, and milk. Alternatively, you can choose lactose-free products, or those with a lower amount of lactose. These include soy milk and soy cheese or any of the other many dairy alternative products made with oat, hemp, coconut, rice, or cashews and other nuts.

However, it’s important to note that you will need to replace the calcium and other nutrients lost by restricting the consumption of dairy. Therefore, you will want to eat more of the following foods:
Lactase drops

  • Almonds
  • Salmon, sardines, and other boned and canned fish
  • Collards, kale, turnip greens, and broccoli
  • Juices, cereals, and soy products fortified with calcium
  • Well-tolerated fermented milk products like yogurt and kefir

Lactase Products

Supplements like Lactase Drops provide your small intestine with the liquid lactase enzyme it needs to properly digest lactose and eliminate your symptoms. This allows you to continue enjoying the dairy products you love.

All of the products found at Forrest Health combine only the best natural ingredients with the latest technology. This results in quality products that offer you maximum health benefit. Visit our website or call for more information: 408-354-4262.

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