Am I Lactose Intolerant?

For some time I have suffered with stomach difficulties ranging from being bloated and having stomach cramps to struggling with wind and the runs. This has been happening on and off however I’d put it down to being “one of those things”. I work A LOT, I dont always get the rest I should and to be fair just assumed it was something to do with that.

Recently someone suggested looking at my diet and the possibility of being intolerant to something. I follow Slimming World and eat a healthy and balanced diet however the one thing that did jump out was the amount of dairy I was having on the plan. I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I don’t have much of a sweet tooth and dislike choclate but I do like my cheese products!

I looked up all of the UK guidance I could find on being lactose intolerant and as suggested on the NHS website set to on an elimination diet. The end result was that having removed a number of foods and reintroduced them at a later date it has become clear that  certain foods no longer agree with me.

By cutting a range of dairy product out of my diet I have found that all symptoms have disappeared completely. I can tolerate small amounts of fat free natural yogurt and quark however dairy yogurts, milk, cheese (hard and soft) and similar kick-start the rather unpleasant symptoms with vigour.

So, is it safe to assume that I am lactose intolerant? I know that lactose may be found as a hidden ingredient in a number of foods however as I follow SW and eat a lot of basic foods such as meat, vegetables, fruits, grains and no processed / few snack foods I haven’t come across these so much myself.

I have to admit that before researching the topic I knew little about lactose and being lactose intolerant. I assumed that it was generally something you were born with (I was wrong) and that you coulddn’t eat anything at all dairy-wise, again a presumption which appear incorrect. Regardless of the outcome of my own situation it once again seems apparent there there is so much that a lot of people don’t know about allergies and food intolerances.

So what now? I could go to my GP however from NHS info and individual accounts it seems unlikely that they will do anything other than suggest an elimination diet and changing what I eat, which I have done. I’ve reintroduced milk and yogurt via alternatives and manage that fine so do I just plough on as long as the symptoms have disappeared with the lactose-freee eating?

If you are lactose intolerant or know something about this I’d love to hear from you! Any experiences and advice is welcome.


**UPDATE 9/6/14 – I’ve seen the GP today who pretty much confirmed my suspicions that I am lactose intolerant. There is of course no treatment however she suggested I continue what I am doing diet-wise as it clearly helps and continue monitoring. Any advice on products (what is good, what is not) and non-dairy specific foods that contain lactose would till be appreciated. I’m sure many others will find all advice and experiences useful.

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  1. Sorry to hear you’ve not been well. I’m definitely not an expert in this but we do have food intolerances in the family and I know what a pain it is to nail down exactly what is causing the problem. You’ve probably already done the research on this but I just wanted to mention it’s possible to have an intolerance to the milk protein as well as/instead of the lactose. So in that case you would have problems with even lactose free dairy products. It might be worth avoiding cows milk completely for a while and switching to soya products?

    It’s always a good idea to see your GP, even if it’s just to eliminate the chance of other health problems. But in our experience they don’t know a great deal about food. I saw a dietician with both of my kids (who were dairy intolerant but have grown out of it) and they were fabulous, but getting a referral to one is difficult.

    Good luck with it!

    1. Thanks Helen.
      I’ve moved over to alternative milk and yogurt products which have been absolutely fine so far but I’m still monitoring everything that I eat and drink. I agree re the GP. I have to get an appointment at some point for a review and will mention it then, just to be sure although they generally don’t test for lactose intolerance in adults, certainly not here, however worth ruling other bits and pieces out.

      Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! I’ll have a look again at the research including milk potein and see how it lines up with the elimination test and my results.

  2. Sorry to hear this, I can’t really suggest anything outside of what you’ve already done. There are a lot of lactose free products available nowadays (I used to drink Lactofree milk, I think they do cheeses too).

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