Can lactose intolerance cause leg muscle cramps?
August 26, 2014 3:33 PM   Subscribe

I recently figured out I'm lactose intolerant, and am still figuring out my lactose limits/sometimes forget I don't do well with cheese. Hence, I had two pieces of pizza with cheese yesterday and I've been having some exciting gastrointestinal distress for the past 24 hours. I've also been very tired, have some skin tenderness, and the muscles on the top of my thighs are achy like I stood a lot yesterday (but I did not). Can this be related to lactose intolerance? If the answer is yes, how long should I expect this to last?
posted by c'mon sea legs to Health & Fitness (9 answers total)
I would more likely suspect that an electrolyte imbalance (potassium/magnesium/sodium, i.e.) caused by the gastrointestinal distress is causing the muscle cramps and other symptoms. Unfortunately, although this is the theory behind muscle cramp etiology, taking supplements/eating bananas etc doesn't always seem to help. Wouldn't hurt to try though.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 3:47 PM on August 26, 2014 [3 favorites]

Any chance you're a lady-type? That sounds more like ovulation or the start of a period than anything lactose related to me.
posted by MsMolly at 3:52 PM on August 26, 2014

Response by poster: I am a lady-type, but haven't experienced these symptoms before (and just ended my period a few days ago, yay).
posted by c'mon sea legs at 3:56 PM on August 26, 2014

I agree that it's likely electrolytes being too low after diarrhea or vomiting. When my electrolytes are too low, I get crampy, achey muscles and feel run down like I'm getting the flu (skin hurts, headache, fatigue).
posted by quince at 4:12 PM on August 26, 2014

i have ibs-c, i can get like this when stuff gets out of whack. chewable simethicone (sold as gas-x) can some times relieve enough of the gi issues that everything else gets back in balance.
posted by nadawi at 4:35 PM on August 26, 2014

I tend toward wild electrolyte balance swings, and these are exactly the symptoms I get when my potassium/calcium/phosphorus balances and/or blood-body pH are out of whack, which can be caused (in a relatively healthy person) by diarrhea and/or vomiting.
posted by WasabiFlux at 4:59 PM on August 26, 2014

If you get this again the next time you eat dairy, maybe consider allergy testing. I have some similar symptoms when I eat something I'm allergic to.

Although mozarella is pretty much the worst in terms of lactose-full cheese!

Sorry you're not feeling well.
posted by the young rope-rider at 5:33 PM on August 26, 2014

I'm lactose intolerant and don't have that problem - although I am male.

Two things you should consider buying: liquid lactase and lactase tablets.

The former you put into milk, cream, yoghurt, custard and anything else liquid, shake, leave for 10 hours and then consume as you would normally. I make my own ice cream using doctored cream and milk and it works really well. If you are heating something up (like custard) then you can add it immediately and warm for 10 minutes.

The latter you take just before you have a meal with dairy in it and it'll reduce the effects. Ideal when you are out somewhere where you can't control what goes into the food before you eat it.

I buy both items off Amazon.
posted by mr_silver at 1:30 AM on August 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

I agree with everyone else that you're probably dehydrated. I also find that when I get sick from dairy, all the muscle cramping in my gut can leave me tired and achy.

I would make sure to drink lots of water, gets some electrolytes, and stay entirely off of dairy for a few days.
posted by inertia at 9:57 AM on August 29, 2014

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