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Symptoms of Lactose Intolerance

Ice Cream? No Thanks, I'm Lactose Intolerant

Some people shudder at the sight of drinking a whole glass of milk or a slice of pizza with extra cheese. It isn't the fat they're worried about, it's the lactose. People who are lactose intolerant no longer produce the enzyme lactase in their small intestine to break down the milk sugar lactose. Symptoms can include mild bloating, gas, or just an uncomfortable feeling in the belly 30 minutes to two hours after eating or drinking a dairy product. For some people, their reaction is more severe, and they end up with painful cramps, nausea, or diarrhea. How much and what types of dairy products are consumed can play a factor in how bad the reaction is.

This video may joke around, but you wouldn't be laughing if you were lactose intolerant. So how do you know? To find out

If you notice that you have stomach issues whenever you eat foods that contain milk, well then it's probably safe to say that you're lactose intolerant. It can also run in families, so if your parents or siblings have a hard time digesting milk and cheese and such, then there's a good chance that you'll follow in their footsteps.

There are two tests you can take though, just to make sure.

Lactose Intolerance Test: You fast before the test and then drink a liquid that contains lactose. Several blood samples are taken over a two-hour period to measure your blood sugar levels. Normally, when a person eats a dairy product, the lactase enzyme breaks down the lactose into glucose and galactose, which raises the person's blood-sugar levels. If the lactase enzyme isn't there to do its job, then a blood sample would show no rise in the blood-sugar level, and the doctor would then confirm lactose intolerance.

Hydrogen Breath Test: You drink a liquid loaded with lactose, and your breath is analyzed. Normally the breath contains little hydrogen, but when there is undigested lactose in the colon, it's fermented by bacteria, which produces several gases including hydrogen. If your doctor sees raised levels of hydrogen in your breath, then you're lactose intolerant.

So now what? Unfortunately there is no cure for lactose intolerance, but there are two options. You can avoid all foods that contain milk or you can take lactase supplements (Lactaid pills). These allow you to pop a pill with your first bite of dairy, so you can enjoy the foods you love without the horrible symptoms.

Join The Conversation
bill2008 bill2008 9 years
CesyBabe CesyBabe 9 years
my flat mate found out she was intolerant, poor thing, and we used to keep forgetting and cook with huge amounts of cheese. We always felt so bad, so we never forgot again. It really is a bummer- and shes a huge coffee fiend so finding somewhere that does decent soy is a real challenge.
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
I love my ice cream...
foxie foxie 9 years
Thanks, and PS - "may contribute to IT" not us. Damn typos!
dunnonuttin dunnonuttin 9 years
Dairy was the cause of my chronic sinus headaches years ago. Life was HORRIBLE with these headaches. Then I read somewhere that dairy could be the cause... I cut if from my diet and, *poof* no more headaches. Vegan for 8 years now... and I feel great!! @foxie... you said it perfectly. :-)
sparklestar sparklestar 9 years
Both me and my boyfriend are lactose/gluten/wheat/soya/corn and sugar intolerant! I'm also yeast intolerant. That means only chicken, vegetables and fruit! We also eat a lot of rice crispies with milk. ;) You get used to it. If everybody cut this rubbish out of their diets then we'd all be a lot healthier!
foxie foxie 9 years
Ditto, superfox. I look effing awesome since cutting dairy out of my life.
superfoxml superfoxml 9 years
Ever since I broke up with dairy, the weight's just sliding off me. And it's not hard finding alternate sources of calcium in case any one is wondering...plenty of veggies offer it as do enriched soy and rice milks.
ellipsery ellipsery 9 years
You hit the nail on the head, foxie. superfox, I had the same experience! I also managed to drop forty pounds and decrease the number of sinus infections I get. Lactaid pills stopped working for me after a few weeks. I would have to use more and more of them. Maybe it was all in my head, but I always felt like I needed to "up my dosage." Avoiding dairy altogether is just easier on my mind and my body.
superfoxml superfoxml 9 years
omg that digestive advantaget stuff actually exacerbated my discomfort. Every time I took it I had to be right by a bathroom, let's say. Every body's different yo.
NiceDriveway NiceDriveway 9 years
I'm lactose intolerant and have been for at least 12 years now. I carry the lactaid pills with me, but even with them, ice cream still makes me feel awful. I can digest a small yogurt without aid, but I've been drinking soy milk since I was 13. I love it--I actually prefer the taste. It's sweeter. For those rare occasions where I want cheese, I do take the pill. It's not the worst thing on earth, but it can be quite annoying to be at someone's house and they've made cheesecake and cappucino and you're pill-less.
platinum89 platinum89 9 years
i am also lactose intolerant, but I don't take lactaid (it got really annoying carrying around those pills). Instead, I take Digestive Advantage. It comes in a green box and you just take the pill once a day (except for when you first start) and your good for the ENTIRE day. Even though I do take this religiously, I still err on the side of caution (cottage cheese really does me in). You can find this at CVS or any drugstore. It is certainly an investment worth making.
foxie foxie 9 years
Humans are the only species who drinks milk after we've been weaned off of it, and we're the only species who drinks the milk of a different species. Milk is made to fatten up baby cows at a HUGE rate... think of what it does to us. PLUS new studies show that milk doesn't prevent osteoperosis and may, in fact, contribute to us. It would be better for us all to just act like we're lactose intolerant.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 9 years
I feel the same way Katies. I can take Lactaid and stuff to help with it, but I just have a general distaste for dairy products.
katies104 katies104 9 years
I'm lactose intolerant. It was always a bummer when all my friends go out for ice cream. Now they make pills and supplements you can take before eating dairy, but most things I equate with getting sick so they gross me out and I wouldn't want to eat them anyway.
renny renny 9 years
I've been wondering this myself ever since I started running - I know I can't handle any kind of dairy before a run or I pay for it, big time.
superfoxml superfoxml 9 years
I just found out a few months ago that I'm lactose intolerant. Now I follow a vegan diet and I feel so much better!
legalbeagle legalbeagle 9 years
I think I need to test for this... Ive never been diagnosed but I avoid milk and dairy products because they always make my stomach feel like crap....
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