If you feel bloated and gassy or have cramps and nausea within a few hours of drinking milk or eating milk products, you may be lactose intolerant. At Triborough GI New York our gastroenterologists know that lactose intolerance can develop as one ages, so know that you are not alone and that there are several ways to manage those uncomfortable symptoms. Continue reading to learn helpful tips on managing your lactose intolerance!
People with lactose intolerance may think they can’t eat or drink any dairy products. This is often not true. Many people with lactose intolerance can eat or drink small amounts of dairy products without symptoms. To find your own limit, keep track of what you eat and drink. Write down when you have symptoms. Learn how much and what kinds of dairy products you can handle.
Lactose intolerance is fairly common, affecting almost 70% of people around the world. It usually develops during adulthood as a normal part of growing up and getting nutrients from food and drinks other than milk. Sometimes, it can be hard to tell the difference between lactose intolerance and other diseases like celiac or inflammatory bowel disease, but if you notice more alarming symptoms such as severe abdominal pain or blood in your stool, seek medical attention immediately.
It is important to note that lactose intolerance is not the same thing as having an allergy to milk. If you are allergic to milk, you may experience more severe symptoms after eating or drinking dairy products such as skin rashes, tingling around the mouth and lips, difficulty breathing, vomiting, or fever. If you experience any of these symptoms, seek medical attention right away.
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If you eat less dairy, you may be getting less calcium. Ask your doctor about calcium supplements. Also, eat more dairy-free, calcium-rich foods, such as:
Be aware that the calcium from these foods varies. It may not be as well absorbed by the body as calcium from dairy products.
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Your body needs vitamin D to use calcium. You can get vitamin D by eating foods that have vitamin D. These include salmon, tuna, and eggs. Also, talk with one of our gastroenterologists at Triborough GI New York about taking a vitamin D supplement. Your vitamin D levels can be checked and followed by a blood test to be sure you are not lacking this nutrient.
Removing all dairy items from your diet is not often needed. And removing dairy also means taking out other healthy foods from your diet. This is why lactose-free dairy products are often a good choice. Your provider can also talk with you about taking calcium and vitamin D supplements.