Some people can easily digest dairy while for some of us, it’s a nightmare.
Why is it that as humans we don’t have the same level of tolerance to dairy products?
Why are some allergic to dairy? In this article I answer these questions plus what can be the symptoms of lactose intolerance, causes and how it can be avoided.
What Causes Lactose Intolerance?
So, in order to understand why some people cannot digest dairy, lets understand what actually causes it:
- Some people are unable to digest the sugar in the dairy that they consume.
- A deficiency of lactase– an enzyme that is produced by your lower intestine.
The above reasons are the major cause for people being unable to digest dairy. However, there are mainly two types of intolerance.
1. Primary Lactose Intolerance:
Primary lactose intolerance is caused when people lose their ability to digest dairy as they grow old.
The production of lactase decreases as you grow old. So, the sugar gets poorly absorbed. This is also mainly caused due to hereditary factor.
2. Secondary Lactose Intolerance:
Although this type of intolerance is rare, it is caused in people by bugs in stomach or celiac disease.
This is a temporary reduction in lactase production in the body due to some kind of inflammation.
So, it is more likely that your inability to break down sugar causes you lactose intolerance.
Symptoms of Lactose Intolerance:
Maybe you have some problem digesting dairy but you’re not yet sure if it’s actually lactose intolerance.
Being lactose intolerant is different from dairy allergy. If you are allergic to dairy you it could be because you cannot digest some proteins in dairy.
So, you can use these signs to analyze your own symptoms:
- Bloated stomach,
- Vomiting (In some cases),
- Rumbling Stomach,
- Stomach cramps and pain,
- Gas and
- Upset stomach
Normally, you should consult your doctor, if you get these symptoms from 30 minutes to 2 hours after you consumed dairy.
People have reported about diarrhoea during lactose intolerance which is cause due to undigested lactose in their lower abdomen.
After it reaches your colon, the bacteria ferments the lactose. Generally, this can cause pain and bloating of the stomach.
Diagnose of lactose intolerance:
There are three different ways in which you can make sure if you are lactose intolerant or not.
Hydrogen breath test:
This requires you to drink some liquid that has a large amount of lactose.
After drinking it, the doctor will measures the amount of hydrogen in your breath in regular intervals.
Large amount of hydrogen in your breath will show that your body cannot digest lactose. Thus, proving that you might be lactose intolerant.
Lactose intolerance test:
Similarly, this test involves you drinking liquid with high amount of lactose.
After which you will undergo blood test to measure the amount of sugar in your blood.
Lower amount of blood in your sugar will show that you are probably lactose intolerant.
Stool acidity test.
This test is normally for children that cannot go through the other tests.
The doctors will test that lactic and other acids to identify the intolerance.
The food you need to avoid if you’re lactose intolerant:
- Buttermilk, powdered milk or evaporated milk.
- Ice cream
- Sour cream
- Milk chocolates.
Basically, you should try to avoid anything that has any kind of dairy product in them.
You should also avoid food which has made you feel uncomfortable in the past after consuming it.
Treatment of Lactose Intolerance:
Probiotics will help your gut break down enzymes easily. Since, it’s not considered that harmful, you can always give this a shot and see if it works.
These are enzyme supplements that will help you digest lactose found in the dairy products.
These lactose intolerance pills are a way to avoid the symptoms of lactose intolerance.
However, it is best that you consult your doctor before you take it because it might cause allergy in some people.
Lifestyle and home remedies
Maintain good nutrition:
Just because you cannot get enough protein from the dairy doesn’t mean that you cannot supplement it through other food.
For example: Food like mushroom, beans, broccoli and peas have considerable amount of protein.
Limit dairy products:
Try to limit your dairy consumption. Nevertheless, try to maintain a minimum quantity of lactose in your diet.
This might help you slowly adjust with the food. You can sometimes develop resistance to dairy, but it takes time.
Short Term Relief:
- Avoid consuming dairy product in large quantities.
- Try to include small servings of dairy in your regular meals.
- Drink milk and icecream that have reduced lactose.