Lifestyle: Living with Lactose Intolerance

What is Lactose?
Lactose is a sugar found in milk and milk products. The small intestine—the organ where most food digestion and nutrient absorption take place—produces an enzyme called lactase. Lactase breaks down lactose into two simpler forms of sugar: glucose and galactose. The body then absorbs these simpler sugars into the bloodstream.

What is Lactose Intolerance?

Lactose Intolerance is a condition in which people have digestive symptoms—such as bloating, diarrhea, and gas—after eating or drinking milk or milk products.

Growing up, my friends and I used to joke around about being lactose intolerant. We never really understood what the term meant, but used the term to express how we felt after eating foods with dairy; macaroni and cheese, ice cream. For some reason, it seemed as though shortly after eating these types of foods, we would have to run to the bathroom. It wasn’t until my adult years,  that this term I used to joke around with, became a real thing. At the age of 24, I was diagnosed with lactose intolerance.

In 2014, I visited a gastroenterologist to take a lactose intolerance test after suffering from bloating, nausea, indigestion, and stomach pain for a year and a half.  For that year and a half I lived in discomfort; as I had trouble burping, releasing gas, and using the bathroom. Certain things I ate just wouldn’t digest. Within minutes of eating, it felt like I had a bubble in my stomach that just wouldn’t pop. I would use my hands to apply pressure, but applied pressure only helped on occasion.  My relationship with foods such as cheese, pizza, and ice-cream, was now associated with pain and unease.

It has been almost three years now since I was diagnosed with lactose intolerance, and although I have cut much dairy out of my diet; I still indulge on occasion. I have come to understand that not all foods with lactose make me in pain. Some foods have a higher percentage in lactose, than others. In my case the less lactose in a product, the better. Although, this may not be true for all.

With this said, for those of you who think they have a food allergy, or are lactose intolerant; I would suggest taking a week - two week break from the foods that seem to bear after-affects. If you do not want to just give up the food completely; try keeping a log of the foods you eat, noting feelings/pain after consumption.Lactose Intolerance may not seem as serious as another medical issues to others; however, anything that requires change from what your used to, can be hard.

 I have copied a few links below for you to look into regarding symptoms and diagnosis of lactose intolerance; as well as links on low lactose percentage/lactose free products, and recipes. Hope is not lost for all of you milk and cheese addicts.

Be Encouraged,