Why Does Milk Bother Me: NIDDK
Article title: Why Does Milk Bother Me: NIDDK
Main condition: Lactose Intolerance
Conditions: Lactose Intolerance
actose intolerance means that you cannot digest
foods with lactose in them. Lactose is the sugar found in milk and foods
made with milk.
These foods contain
Should I Worry About Lactose Intolerance?
Lactose intolerance is not serious. You should feel better soon if you eat
less food with lactose or if you use products that help you digest
Drink less milk because it
has lactose in it.
Why Does My Body Have Trouble Digesting Lactose?
cannot digest lactose because you do not have enough lactase enzyme. The
small intestine needs lactase enzyme to break down lactose. If lactose is
not digested, it can cause gas and stomach cramps.
How Will I Feel If I Have Lactose Intolerance?
eating foods with lactose in them, you may feel sick to your stomach.
You may also have
- Swelling in your stomach.
Some illnesses can cause these
same problems. Your doctor can tell you if your problems are caused by
How Will My Doctor Check For Lactose Intolerance?
doctor will use one of these tests:
Blood and breath tests
You will drink a sweet drink with
lactose in it. Then, your doctor will test your breath or blood for signs
that you did or did not digest the lactose.
Your doctor can also find out if you digest
lactose by testing your stool (bowel movement). The stool test is often
used to check babies for lactose intolerance.
What Can I Do About Lactose Intolerance?
will need to
eat less of all foods with lactose. These foods include
Foods made with milk
Lactose is in milk and all foods made
with milk, like
- Ice cream.
- Ice milk.
- Cottage cheese.
Lactose is added to some boxed, canned,
frozen, and other prepared foods, like
- Lunch meats.
- Salad dressings.
- Mixes for cakes, cookies, pancakes, and biscuits.
- Frozen dinners.
- Nondairy coffee creamer.
How Will I Know If Lactose Is in Food?
for certain words on food labels. These words mean the food has lactose in
- Dried milk.
- Milk solids.
- Powdered milk.
Can I Eat Any Foods With Lactose?
may be able to eat a small amount of some foods with lactose. For example,
you may be able to eat cheese or yogurt, but not drink milk. Or you may be
able to eat some prepared foods. To find out if you can, try a small
amount of the food and then see how you feel.
Some people can eat a little
of certain foods that contain milk,
but none of
Can I Take Anything To Help Digest Lactose?
ou can buy
drops at a drug or grocery store to help you digest lactose. They are
- Pills that you chew right before eating foods with lactose. These
pills are called lactase enzyme caplets.
- A liquid that you add to milk before drinking. The liquid is called
lactase enzyme drops.
You can also
Drink a special milk with less lactose in it. You can buy this milk at
the grocery store. It is called lactose-reduced milk.
What Else Do I Need To Know About Diet?
milk and eating foods made with milk are
the most common ways to get calcium. Calcium is important for good health.
If you cannot eat or drink these foods, you may need to eat other foods
- Canned salmon with bones.
- Collard greens.
- Turnip greens.
Also, ask your doctor if you should take a calcium tablet every day.
Points To Remember
- Eat fewer foods with lactose in them, like milk, cheese, and ice
- Find out if you can eat small amounts of food with lactose.
- Read labels on foods to find out if they have lactose in them.
- Use a special pill or liquid to help you digest foods with lactose.
- Eat enough foods with calcium, like broccoli.
Taking a pill to help digest
lactose is one way to deal with
National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse
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Bethesda, MD 20892-3570
E-mail: National Digestive
Diseases Information Clearinghouse
The National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC) is a
service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney
Diseases (NIDDK). The NIDDK is part of the National Institutes of Health
under the U.S. Public Health Service. Established in 1980, the
clearinghouse provides information about digestive diseases to people with
digestive disorders and to their families, health care professionals, and
the public. NDDIC answers inquiries; develops, reviews, and distributes
publications; and works closely with professional and patient
organizations and Government agencies to coordinate resources about
Publications produced by the clearinghouse are reviewed carefully for
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NIH Publication No. 98-2751
e-text posted: 11 May 1998
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