Lactose Intolerance Symptoms
The symptoms of lactose intolerance include:
* Cramps
* Bloating
* Gas
* Diarrhea
* Nausea
Symptoms may be mild or severe. Although there is no cure for
lactose intolerance, there are many things you can do to feel
better. Your doctor may ask you to keep a diary of the foods
you eat and to note when you experience symptoms.
Is It Lactose Intolerance?
Other conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome may cause
symptoms similar to lactose intolerance. These conditions,
however, may not require you to limit your dairy intake as
Your doctor may perform medical tests to help diagnose
lactose intolerance. These tests may include:
* Hydrogen Breath Test. Normally you have very little
hydrogen in your breath. But if your body does not digest
lactose, then levels of hydrogen will build up in your
intestines and will eventually pass out of your body through
your breath. During this test, youíll drink a beverage
containing lactose. Then your breath will be analyzed over
time for hydrogen content.
* Lactose Tolerance Test. This blood test measures the
amount of glucose in your blood. After you have fasted, a
blood sample is taken, and then you drink a liquid that is
high in lactose. After two hours, more blood is drawn.
Lactose causes glucose blood levels to rise. If glucose
levels in the second sample are not higher, you have not
digested the lactose.
* Stool Acidity Test. This test is used to diagnose
lactose intolerance in children. A stool sample is collected
after an infant or child drinks liquid containing lactose. If
lactose is not digested, it forms lactic acid and other
acids. The acidity of the stool is measured.
Itís Lactose Intolerance. What Now?
There is no cure for lactose intolerance, but you can reduce
or even eliminate lactose intolerance symptoms by limiting
the dairy products you eat. For many people, it is not
necessary to get rid of dairy completely. You may be able to
eat dairy foods in small quantities.
Effective lactose intolerance treatment involves talking to
your doctor or a registered dietitian to help plan a healthy
diet that keeps you feeling good. A food diary may help you
determine how much, if any, dairy you can eat without
experiencing lactose intolerance symptoms.
For many people, treatments may help prevent lactose
intolerance symptoms. These products include:
* Lactase enzyme replacement tablets or caplets. Taking
these with your first drink or bite of dairy may help prevent
lactose intolerance symptoms.
* Lactose-free or reduced-lactose milk and dairy
. Many manufacturers now offer dairy products that
have had most of the lactose removed or lactase added to the
* Dairy-free products. There are many alternatives to
dairy, such as soy or rice milk.

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