Milk contains a type of sugar called “lactose”. It’s so special that your body has to produce an enzyme known as “lactase” just to break it down. Some people do not produce enough of lactase since birth or later on in their lives, causing the failure of lactose to be digested properly. That’s basically the reason behind lactose intolerance.
Do you feel terrible 30 minutes to a couple of hours after drinking milk, enjoying ice cream, snacking on yogurt or eating anything that has milk in it? Then you may be suffering from lactose intolerance.
Take note that lactose intolerance and milk allergy are two different things. Generally speaking, someone who has milk allergy will experience some very serious symptoms after the consumption of milk or milk-based products, including shortness of breath, wheezing and hives. In such instance, it’s not lactose that is most likely the root cause of the whole problem, but proteins present in milk, such as casein.
On the other hand, the symptoms experienced by someone who has lactose intolerance after ingesting milk or anything that contains milk are so much milder, and related to the digestive system.
Are you suspecting that you are intolerant to lactose? There’s an easy way to determine if you are right. All you have to do is consume a glass of milk and wait. If you experience some or all of the following symptoms half an hour to a couple of hours after, then you may be right all along:
Noise coming from your gut is a sure sign that it’s having a hard time doing its job, and that’s digesting milk if you have lactose intolerance. It’s basically the same thing that you experience if you have consumed anything that is challenging to digest, or is contaminated with anything that the body would like to flush out.
If you experience gurgling sounds in your tummy, which is called “borborgymy” by doctors, then it’s not unlikely for you to have diarrhea right after. Having loose stools is a clear sign that your digestive system was not able to properly process that milk or milk-containing food product that you have just taken.
Changes in Stool
Other than having diarrhea, certain changes in your stool may also grab your attention. For instance, it’s not unlikely for a person with lactose intolerance to have foamy stools. Sometimes his or her stools may appear black, or tinged with bright red blood. Passing stool may also be accompanied with pain.
You may also put up with having excess gas. Other than being embarrassing, it’s something that can leave you in pain or discomfort, too. Naturally, trapped gas in your stomach area causes the abdomen to become distended, and this can produce cramps. A way to attain relief is for you to expel all of the trapped gas.
Nausea and Vomiting
Several minutes after consuming milk or anything that contains milk in it, you may feel sick. This is something that can be expected because you just introduced something to your digestive system that it cannot process efficiently. You may also experience vomiting if you are lactose intolerant.
There are numerous other health issues that produce the same symptoms as lactose intolerance. It’s exactly due to this reason why you should seek the help of a specialist. He or she will ask you about all of the problems you experience after taking milk or milk-based products, as well as order some tests in order to determine if what you are suffering from is indeed lactose intolerance and not another problem that yields similar symptoms.