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Don’t let lactose intolerance go undiagnosed – read more to find out if you have any of the symptoms.
Lactose intolerance is the inability to digest and absorb lactose which results in gastrointestinal symptoms. Milk and other dairy products contain a sugar or carbohydrate called lactose. Individuals may be lactose intolerant to varying degrees, depending on the severity of these symptoms. Without enough lactase, people can have abdominal pain and diarrhoea. Find out more about lactose intolerance.
What are the symptoms of being lactose intolerance?It is not always easy to diagnose whether you are lactose intolerant. Many people with lactose intolerance have a certain tolerance level which allows them to consume some lactose with minimal symptoms. Symptoms of lactose intolerance often occur 30 minutes to 2 hours after you eat or drink milk products. Some people will self diagnose by eliminating certain foods from your diet:
How is lactose intolerance diagnosed?Various methods may be used to diagnose lactose intolerance. The Better Health Channel identifies two main methods:
Hydrogen breath test – this tests the amount of hydrogen that is breathed out. When lactose is fermented by bacteria in the bowel, instead of being converted by lactase, more hydrogen is produced.
Elimination diet – this involves removing or eliminating foods that contain lactose to see if your health is improved. If the symptoms reappear once the foods are reintroduced, then lactose intolerance is most likely the cause.
Symptoms of lactose intolerance can be confused with other ailments. If you believe you are lactose intolerant, see your doctor to make sure.
Lactose is not just found in milk. If you are lactose tolerant, avoid foods that have milk solids, non-fat milk solids, whey and milk sugar. Other foods you may need to avoid are milk chocolate, biscuits and cakes if milk or milk solids are added, pancakes and pikelets, custard and scrambled eggs. If you are diagnosed with being lactose intolerant, it is best to speak to a dietician to see how your diet can be modified.
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