We’re going to be honest with you. It’s incredibly likely that you are lactose intolerant. According to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, 30 to 50 million Americans are lactose intolerant. If you’re African American or American Indian, it is even more likely, with up to 75% of people in these ethnic groups believed to be lactose intolerant. Surprised by this, well, it gets starker for Asian Americans; 90%. See why we’re so confident now? But, there are obviously some people for whom lactose consumption isn’t a problem. So how do you know whether you’re one of the unlucky ones? What are the symptoms of lactose intolerance?
Joey’s turkey pants in Friends. Remember how he put his elasticated pants on to be able to eat more turkey at Thanksgiving? He was probably anticipating bloating that would restrict his ability to load up on protein goodness. When you eat a lot of food, your stomach expands to facilitate the extra. It can be an uncomfortable experience, but can usually be mitigated by not eating more food than you need to. But for people with lactose intolerance, a glass of milk can leave them experiencing this same bloated feeling. Not ideal when you’ve not even eaten yet. This is because their body is unable to produce sufficient quantities of the enzyme lactase, which is required for your body to break down lactose. In their absence, bacteria break it down, and they produce much more gas than enzymes do. This is one of the most common symptoms of lactose intolerance.
Sometimes a bit of slightly undercooked food or something that has been sat in the cupboard a bit too long can have you racing to the toilet. Usually, this one instance of diarrhea sorts the problem. But when you are lactose intolerant and consuming it regularly, unaware of your intolerance, you can be suffering from regular bouts of diarrhea. Diarrhea, as well as being embarrassing, can cause dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. It is caused by your body detecting a food intolerance and acting to remove it from your system quickly, to do this it draws water from cells into the digestive system where it mixes with stool to make diarrhea.
Stomach Cramps and Pains
All three of these symptoms of lactose intolerance have something in common; they all affect the digestive system. And this particular one is undoubtedly contributed to by the previous two. Excessive gas in the stomach can stretch the walls to an uncomfortable level, which can cause severe pain in the stomach. Equally, diarrhea can inflame and aggravate the lining of the digestive system, which can also be incredibly painful.
Acting on Symptoms Of Lactose Intolerance
The problem with these symptoms of lactose intolerance is that they can also be evidence of several other food intolerances. The only guaranteed way to identify your personal food intolerances is with an intolerance test. You can find one to suit your budget here.