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Do You Grow Out of Lactose Intolerance?

Lactose Intolerance: Can You Grow Out of It?

How horrible is it to have to say no to ice cream on a hot Summer day? Unfortunately millions or Americans have to say no to ice cream, milk, yogurt, cheese and any foods containing dairy products because they're lactose intolerant. If you can't have milk, it's because your body doesn't produce the enzyme, lactase, to break down the milk sugar (lactose). So undigested lactose sits in your gut, and causes bloating, gas, and embarrassing trips to the bathroom within 30 minutes to two hours after eating anything containing milk.

So can your body ever grow out of lactose intolerance? To find out


The thing is, if your body reduces the amount of lactase enzyme it produces, then unfortunately it's not likely that regular production will suddenly start to kick in. So although growing out of it is unlikely and there is no cure for lactose intolerance, there are some ways around it. Some may find that if they gradually increase the amount of dairy products they eat, the bacteria in their colons may change and be better able to handle larger quantities. Other folks find that certain dairy products like cheese and yogurt are easier to digest than a glass of milk, and a little trial and error will help them figure out their personal limit. Eating dairy products with other foods may also make products containing milk more tolerable.

For most people though, their only options are to either eliminate dairy products altogether, or to take Lactaid supplements. These miracle pills contain the lactase enzyme your body lacks, so they allow you to eat all the dairy your little heart desires without the cramping or mortifying gas.


Join The Conversation
I've been lactose intolerant for the past 3 years or so and wanted to offer a little helpful advice. Some of the lactose-free products that have made my life easier are the lactose-free milks, Breyer's lactose-free vanilla bean ice cream (which is the exact same price as any other flavor and tastes the same as regular ice cream), any kind of Kraft cheese except for the slices (if you look on the nutrition information, it says that it contains 0 grams of lactose), and DiGiorno pizzas and Tombstone pizzas (all are made with Kraft cheese). I am very sensitive to lactose and have never had any problems with these products. Also, I've noticed that when I eat dairy that has been cooked into an item (such as butter into baked goods), I don't get nearly as sick as when I eat the same kind and amount of dairy uncooked. Has anyone else noticed this?
Psychofaery618 Psychofaery618 8 years
I only have one thing to say to the people that say that you have grown into or recently "got" lactose intolerance, it may be something else and you are born with it.Lactose intolerance is a lack of the enzyme to break down lactose, they don't just go away. Gallbladder problems run deeply in my family and I thought that I had had lactose intolerance all my life but dairy products only affected me sometimes and lactaid never helped. Turns out that I've had a problem with my gallbladder my whole life and no one ever caught on. As a child I instinctively stayed away from anything acidic, dairy foods, and meat when I wasn't feeling good. Sometimes symptoms are the same for different problems. All I'm saying is don't jump to the conclusion that you are lactose intolerant when there might be something else going on.
cravinsugar cravinsugar 9 years
btw, Cat's love to drink milk after infancy....
cravinsugar cravinsugar 9 years
:ROTFL: @ angel
angelfromlsu angelfromlsu 9 years
moonlite...I find nothing ethically wrong with drinking animal milk. I love goat milk. We are also the only creature that reads and writes. Is that gross too?
moonlite moonlite 9 years
I agree with foxie. I don't really feel sorry for lactose-intolerant people. My brother is lactose intolerant and I am vegan--we both do just fine. There are tons of substitutes for dairy products so it's not that big a deal. Humans are the only creatures that consume milk after infancy. And I doubt that there are many other animals that consume the dairy of other species. So it's kind of gross, if you think about it. Being lactose intolerance is not a problem. It's actually natural. I think people should stop trying to fight it and learn to take a hint!
seraphimm seraphimm 9 years
SKIM MILK HAS MORE LACTOSE THAN WHOLE?!?!!?!?!?!?! THAT EXPLAINS IT!!!!!!!!! i have had chronic stomachache for the past 2 days, RIGHT AFTER i had skim milk with cereal that morning. I was wondering to myself, "Why????? it's SKIM MILK!" because I've never had problems with 2% or more fat milk! So no skim milk for me then i guess :( thanks sldc!
mjane79 mjane79 9 years
I was lactose intolerant when I was a baby. I had to be on soy formula. As I got older, I could drink milk. I still can't have a lot of dairy at one time, like I can't drink a glass of milk with a bowl of ice cream. I can handle one of those, just not both at the same time.
Katikins Katikins 9 years
I actually grew INTO being lactose intolerant. I was not a happy camper. I've not started taking lactaid yet, but thinking about it. I switched to rice milk which is great and doesn't affect me, but other dairy is about out. Thank God for frozen yogurt in small doses and soy ice cream! Also, fruit is starting to cause the same problems. Apparently the fructose in fruit does the same thing as the lactose in dairy. *sigh* So to compensate for the little bit of fruit I can eat I've been eating a lot more veggies to try and balance things out. I just hate being gassy and crampy, etc., most of the time, but I also don't want to have to take something like lactaid all the time either. Beano stopped working for me, sadly.
cahill cahill 9 years
i became lactose intolerant one summer while working at a restaurant and mostly drank water. it's awful b/c i was used to 3-5 glasses a day! i do love the lactose free milk, but it's even more expensive than real milk.
Spectra Spectra 9 years
Here's some interesting knowledge for you: if you stop eating certain foods, your body starts to use the enzymes that are used to digest that food for fuel. So when you add that food back to your diet, you may have some digestive issues for a while because your body has to stop using those particular enzymes for fuel. I know that's happened with me; I can't handle really fatty foods anymore because I must be missing some lipases that would help break that fat down.
chameleon7 chameleon7 9 years
Both my brother and I were lactose intolerant when we were younger and have grown out of it. So, it is possible. When I was lactose intolerant I couldn't touch any milk/dairy product except slim milk. For some reason slim milk was the only thing my stomach/body could take without going crazy, but if I went to any other kind of milk I could maybe get by have one glass of it or have in something and any amount after that and my stomach/body would hate me. My mom has also, she has always been lactose intolerant for as long as I can remember and not until a few/couple years ago has been able to use non-lactose intolerant milk and other products.
angelfromlsu angelfromlsu 9 years
On top of milk substitues, there's also goat milk which has a lot less lactose than cow milk. I love goat milk but my boyfriend is all grossed out by it...Now all ice cream I feed him, he thinks is goat milk ice cream. Proof that he can't taste the difference hehe
Beaner Beaner 9 years
Laurgursh - I was vegan for 6 years and when I started to eat dairy again, my stomach was not having it. My doctor said it was like a use it or lose it thing with lactase. I guess I lost it :(
cravinsugar cravinsugar 9 years
you know what, sour cream really does it to me. sour cream and processed cheese. It is much easier to stay away from processed cheese than sour cream though lol. and if you ever give me fat-free sour cream GET OUT OF THERE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE :ROTFL:
tlsgirl tlsgirl 9 years
I didn't know that about the milk. Maybe it's placebo effect or something, but it just seems like the richer something is, the worse my stomach is. Then again, I never liked milk all that much anyway, so the only time I drink it is in my coffee. It's cheese that's my problem.
ilanac13 ilanac13 9 years
it's interesting. i always felt bad for my dad since he's lactose intolerant, but now i think that my body has developed an issue with that. (can you get it after a certain time even when you didn't have the problem before?) my stomach just does NOT like dairy - and it's really a problem for me since i'm a vegetarian and i LOVE CHEESE. i only eat it when i'm at home, and then it's only my boyfriend that i'm embarrassed around.
cravinsugar cravinsugar 9 years
FYI--eventually lactaid stops working too and you just can't have dairy. Be forewarned! (Both my mother and her physician have been lactose intolerant for years, and have both been taking lactaid for the entire time since they discovered they had it...and now, even with a handful of lactaid, my mom can't eat ice cream, and other sairy products are starting to bother her just as much)
foxie foxie 9 years
Duh... who has to say no to ice cream when there are so many awesome, dairy free substitutes?
thedingo thedingo 9 years
My sister used to be lactose-intolerant. She had gastric bypass surgery last year and has since lost about 130! But I guess your tastes can change after that because now she can eat certain things she could not and can't eat stuff she loves, like chocolate. And, she noticed recently, that she's no longer lactose intolerant! How very peculiar!!
Lynne Lynne 9 years
I did "grow out" of it". About 5 years ago I started with the symptoms but didn't know what it was. Last summer, it got REALLY bad. My sister is lactose intolerant so she gave me one of her pills and it helped, so I got my own. Then in the fall, all of a sudden, it stopped. I'm serious. Even my doctors didn't believe me.
Brooklynbee Brooklynbee 9 years
Yep, I am lactose intolerant too. Thank goodness for lactaid! sldc is right, aged/fermented things are easier to digest as they have the milk sugar partially broken down by the fermenting/aging process. I can eat yogurt and hard, aged cheeses.
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