Based on your symptoms and reaction to lowering the quantity of dairy items in your diet, your doctor may suggest lactose intolerance. One or more of the following tests may be performed by your doctor to confirm the diagnosis:
- Hydrogen breath test. After you consume a lactose-containing beverage, your doctor will monitor the quantity of hydrogen in your breath at regular intervals. Excessive hydrogen expulsion implies that you are not adequately digesting and absorbing lactose.
- Lactose tolerance test. Blood tests will be performed two hours after ingesting a lactose-containing beverage to determine the quantity of glucose in your system. If your glucose level does not increase, this indicates that your body is not adequately digesting and absorbing the lactose-containing drink.
Treating the underlying illness may restore the body’s capacity to digest lactose in persons with lactose intolerance, albeit this process might take months. A low-lactose diet may help you avoid the pain of lactose intolerance for various reasons.
To lower the amount of lactose in your diet:
- Limit milk and other dairy products
- Include tiny amounts of dairy products in your daily meals.
- Eat and drink lactose-reduced ice cream and milk
- To break down the lactose in milk, add a liquid or powder lactase enzyme.
Lifestyle and home remedies
You may be able to forecast your body’s reaction to lactose-containing foods and figure out how much you can eat or drink without discomfort with some trial and error. Few persons have such severe lactose intolerance that they must avoid all milk products and avoid nondairy foods and drugs containing lactose.
Maintain good nutrition
Reduced dairy consumption does not imply a lack of calcium. Calcium may also be present in a variety of different foods, including:
- Broccoli and leafy green vegetables
- Calcium-fortified foods and beverages, such as cereals and juices
- Canned salmon or sardines
- Milk substitutes, such as soy milk and rice milk
- Almonds, Brazil nuts and dried beans
Make sure you receive enough vitamin D, which is often found in fortified milk. Vitamin D is also found in eggs, liver, and yogurt, and your body produces it when exposed to sunlight.
Even if dairy foods are not restricted, many individuals may not obtain enough vitamin D. To be sure, see your doctor about taking vitamin D and calcium supplements.
Limit dairy products
Most lactose intolerant persons can consume certain milk products without experiencing symptoms. Low-fat milk products, such as skim milk, may be tolerated better than whole-milk products. It may also be able to gradually raise your tolerance to dairy products by including them into your diet.
Changing your diet to reduce lactose intolerant symptoms includes:
- Choosing smaller servings of dairy. Squeeze out little amounts of milk — up to 4 ounces (118 milliliters) at a time. The lower the portion size, the less likely it is to induce digestive issues.
- Saving milk for mealtimes. Drink milk with other foods. This slows digestion and may alleviate lactose intolerance symptoms.
- Experimenting with various dairy products. Lactose levels differ amongst dairy products. Hard cheeses, such as Swiss or cheddar, contain trace levels of lactose but produce no symptoms.Ice cream and milk have the highest lactose, although the high fat content of ice cream may enable you to consume it without experiencing symptoms. Cultured milk products, such as yogurt, may be tolerated since the microorganisms employed in the culturing process naturally create the enzyme that breaks down lactose.
- Buying lactose-reduced or lactose-free products. These items may be found in the dairy department of most supermarkets.
- Using lactase enzyme tablets or drops. Lactase enzyme pills or drops (Lactaid, for example) may aid in the digestion of dairy products. Tablets may be taken just before a meal or snack. Alternatively, the drops may be mixed into a carton of milk. These items are not suitable for everyone who is lactose intolerant.
Probiotics are live organisms found in your intestines that aid in the maintenance of a healthy digestive tract. Probiotics are also available as active or “live” cultures in certain yogurts, as well as pill supplements.
They are sometimes used to treat gastrointestinal issues including diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome. They might also aid in the digestion of lactose. Probiotics are usually thought to be safe and may be worth a try if other techniques have failed.
Preparing for your appointment
If you have signs or symptoms that imply lactose intolerance, consult your family doctor first. Here is some information to get you started.
What you can do
When you book the appointment, ask whether there is anything you need do ahead of time, such as limit your food.
Make a list of:
- Your symptoms, includes those that seem unrelated to the purpose for which the visit was planned, and when they occur
- All medications, vitamins or other supplements you take, including doses
- Questions to ask your doctor
Lactose intolerance questions to ask your doctor include:
- Is there anything else that might be causing my symptoms except lactose intolerance?
- What tests do I need?
- What are my treatment options?
- Must I stop eating all dairy products?
- How can I know whether I’m getting enough calcium in my diet?
- Should I see a dietitian?
- I also have some additional health issues. How can I effectively handle these illnesses in conjunction?
- Is it possible for me to get brochures or other printed materials? What websites do you suggest?
What you can do in the meantime
Keep note of your daily dairy portions, including milk, ice cream, yogurt, and cottage cheese, as well as when and what you eat with them. Also, tell your doctor which dairy items, and in what quantities, cause you to have problems. This information will assist your doctor in making a diagnosis.
If you suspect you have lactose intolerance, eliminate dairy products from your diet for a few days to see if your symptoms improve. Inform your doctor whether your symptoms improved after you avoided dairy products.
Can you have LACTAID with milk allergy?
Lactose-free milk is created by combining ordinary milk with lactase, which breaks down lactose into simpler carbohydrates that are easier to digest. Despite being significantly sweeter, it might be a viable option for persons who are lactose intolerant. However, it is not suited for persons who are allergic to dairy or who avoid dairy for other reasons.
Does lactose free help with milk allergy?
Foods labeled “lactose-free” or “suitable for lactose intolerant” are not acceptable for persons who are allergic to milk.
What is the difference between a milk allergy and a lactose intolerance?
Lactose intolerance is caused by a lack of lactase, an enzyme required to break down lactose, the sugar present in milk and other dairy products. Milk allergy is a genuine food allergy induced by an allergic response to milk protein.
Does Lactaid contain milk?
Lactaid is 100% genuine milk that has been lactose-free. So even if you’re sensitive, you can appreciate it. It’s not only tasty, but it’s also simple to digest. So it has all the benefits of genuine milk without the drawbacks.