Am I lactose intolerant?
February 19, 2012 7:12 AM Subscribe
I think I'm lactose intolerant. Advise me?
posted by meronym to Health & Fitness (36 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Background: during the past couple of years, I've started experiencing stomach upsets after eating, mostly gas, stomach pain and mild diarrhoea -- nothing very serious, but unpleasant and embarrassing. Over time, it's been getting more frequent. I recently had a lightbulb moment when I realised that I never experience these symptoms when I'm on holiday. That seemed weird to me, because on holiday I tend to eat more rich food, but then I realised that on holiday I eat much less dairy than I do as part of my 'normal' diet.
I'm 36, female, not taking any other medication, no other history of stomach or digestive complaints, generally healthy, not pregnant, not suffering unduly from stress. My normal, dairy-heavy diet would typically include skimmed milk with breakfast cereal every day, skimmed milk in tea and coffee, yogurt once or sometimes twice a day, custard quite often, cottage cheese. I know that lactose is also present in things like bread, biscuits, chocolate and processed foods, but none of those figure significantly in my diet.
I do notice that I never have any trouble in the mornings (having eaten cereal and milk at breakfast) but that often the symptoms start immediately after lunch. My normal lunch is a bowl of soup (tomato-based rather than cream based) or a salad, a banana and a yogurt.
I plan to see my doctor about this, and I am also planning to go cold-turkey on dairy for a period to see if my self-diagnosis is right, but I wanted to canvas some opinions first.
Is lactose intolerance the most likely explanation? Is there anything else which could be causing this?
If it is lactose intolerance, do I have to give up yogurt (which I love)? I've read that there's no lactose in yogurt as the bacteria get rid of it -- is this true for supermarket-bought yogurt? Would there be any benefit in making my own yogurt at home using something like EasiYo?
Any recommendations for helpful websites/blogs which give advice on building a healthy diet around lactose intolerance?