The cases of lactose intolerance are rising worldwide, and people try different things, including turning vegan or going on medications to deal with the problem. There are specific ways you can keep the pain at bay, but as far as curing it permanently is concerned, it’s a really daunting task. We will see some ways to deal with the problem later in this blog but first, let’s understand what lactose intolerance actually is.
Simply put, Lactose is a certain kind of sugar present in milk and dairy products. The sugar is composed of galactose and subunits of glucose. Lac is the Latin for milk and ‘ose’ is used for sugars. Lactose intolerance is the incapacity of a person to digest milk or dairy products due to the presence of Lactose in them. The problem is more prevalent in the American world, however, some cases can be found in almost every part of the world. While the condition isn’t really harmful, it can be really problematic once a person having lactose intolerance consumes milk or milk products.
To make it clear, lactose intolerance doesn’t mean being allergic to milk. When a person having lactose intolerance consumes milk or dairy products, they may encounter problems like diarrhea, bloating, indigestion and vomiting in rare cases.
For normal people, Lactose breaks down the milk-sugar in the small intestines after drinking milk. It then gets absorbed by the body with the help of the big intestines. The case is not the same for people suffering with the condition. Instead of breaking down in the intestines, Lactose goes to the colon and mixes with bacteria to undergo fermentation. This is why problems like diarrhoea or bloating are encountered by people having lactose intolerance.
How to check if you have lactose intolerance?
There are simple ways to ascertain if you have lactose intolerance.
- Stop consuming milk or dairy products for a few weeks. Take not of any positive changes in your body after this.
- After a few weeks, start taking milk and dairy products and take note of any negative impacts of the way your body reacts to this.
- If you have some negative symptoms after consuming milk, consult a doctor.
According to a study, nearly 40 percent of people across the world stop producing enough Lactose required to digest milk at the age of 2 to 5. The problem is very common in the United States. It is found in native Americans as well as Mexican-Americans and Asian-Americans.
What are the tests you can take to ascertain if you are Lactose intolerant?
If you are already done with the observations above and want to ascertain whether you are Lactose intolerant, there are two common tests to know it.
- Blood Test: As in most of cases, blood test is a common way to know about lactose intolerance. You can go for a blood test after consuming milk to find how your body is reacting to it.
- Breath Test: This is the test that is commonly taken to find lactose intolerance in a person. If high levels of hydrogen are recorded while you are exhaling, there are high chances that you are Lactose intolerant. The reason behind this is that when Lactose breaks in the colon, hydrogen is released. The blood then takes the hydrogen to your lungs and you finally exhale it.
Once it is clear that you are Lactose intolerant it is well understood that you can’t have milk or dairy products as it is only going to create problems for your body and your digestive system in particular. The only way to save yourself from all these problems and complexities is going for alternatives to milk apart from the medicines or supplements prescribed by your doctor. It is not only helpful but also doable in the long run.
You can consume the following items to get nutrients that you usually get from milk or dairy products
- Egg Yolks
- Tofu (An alternative for Paneer)
- Calcium Capsules
- Soy Milk
- Dry Fruits like Almonds
- Dried Beans
Avoiding milk products in the most useful way of dealing with lactose intolerance without spending too much on medication. If this works, you can consume milk and dairy products in permissible quantities once in a while.