If you have stomach pain after having ice cream or running to the bathroom after having milk, you might have lactose intolerance. It happens when our body can not digest dairy products properly, resulting in discomfort.
Lactose is a natural sugar present in milk and milk products. When you eat or drink something containing lactose, an enzyme known as lactase in the intestine breaks it down. But individuals with lactose intolerance do not make enough lactase. So the undigested lactose goes to the colon, where bacteria ferments it. The process can be uncomfortable and cause pain, nausea, gas, bloating, and diarrhea. If you are lactose intolerant, visit online nutrition coaching to know what foods suit you.
Things you should know about lactose intolerance
There are some things that you should be aware of about lactose intolerance.
It is not a milk allergy.
Allergies like peanut or milk allergies are autoimmune conditions. Individuals with milk allergies can not have milk or milk-containing foods. Reactions can be serious and even cause death. If you have lactose intolerance– that means your body has difficulty digesting lactose–and you may have disruptive and painful symptoms, but it is not life-threatening.
Most people are likely to have lactose intolerance.
The natural level of lactase declines as we grow, so lactose intolerance may appear as you grow older. Sometimes, it seems to be a genetic factor. Some populations have higher rates, too, including Mexican Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans, etc.
The condition can be diagnosed.
Do not touch dairy products for 7 to 10 days to observe if your symptoms improve. You can ask your doctor for a more definitive answer. You can take the breath hydrogen test or a blood test involving drinking or eating something containing lactose, then test if your blood or breath shows any signs of indigestion.
Calcium is important
If you are cutting out dairy products, you must include foods containing calcium, like tofu processed with calcium, broccoli, almonds, calcium-fortified cereal, and kale. It is essential for kids who avoid dairy to obtain calcium from other food while growing and building bone mass.
You can still be able to consume dairy.
It will take some time on trial and error to determine how much and what you can handle, but some individuals with lactose intolerance can intake some amount of dairy, like a small amount of milk, with no symptoms. Some individuals can tolerate yogurt because its bacteria have already broken some lactose down.