The symptoms of lactose intolerance can range from bloating to nausea. Those who are lactose intolerant tend to deal with most of the symptoms. They also don't require much lactose to trigger a reaction. Lactose intolerance can make eating anything with dairy a miserable experience, and often requires careful dietary examination or exclusions.
Lactose intolerance isn't an allergy. It is a common digestive condition where your body has difficulty processing lactose. Lactose is a type of sugar that you find in dairy products like milk and cheese. If you're lactose intolerant, you'll usually develop symptoms such as bloating, flatulence, and sometimes pain within an hour or so of consumption. It's a common misconception that it's normal to bloat or have stomach aches after milk.
Feeling bloated is uncomfortable. While bloating isn't a life-or-death situation, it can make basic tasks horrendously uncomfortable. Bloating is also a fact of life, but it's not one that has to happen as much as it can. If you experience bloating after eating dairy, you might be lactose intolerant.
Flatulence is embarrassing, even if we all do it. It's also usually a good way to get rid of pain and bloating. Not where lactose is concerned. If you're lactose intolerant and eat dairy, you might find that passing gas won't fix how bloated you feel. There's also the displeasure of how much "lactose gas" can smell...
Stomach cramps can tie into both bloating and flatulence. If your body has trouble digesting lactose, it can feel as though your intestines are twisting into knots. A helpful way of trying to guide the trapped gases through is to give yourself an abdominal massage. Rub your stomach in clockwise circles to help the food and air through your intestines and onto your colon.
Diarrhea that you get from lactose is different to diarrhea you obtain through diet. The bouts of diarrhea linked to lactose intolerance are related to osmosis. This is the spontaneous movement of water between bodily tissues. Diarrhea can be helpful to alleviate bloating, but because of the embarrassment it can cause, it doesn't seem worth it.
Gastrointestinal problems often lead to nausea. Because most of the symptoms of lactose intolerance affect the digestive system, while uncommon, some people can feel nauseous after eating dairy. If you feel nauseous after consuming dairy, drink water and wait for the feeling to pass. It will; it just takes time.
Symptoms of lactose intolerance don't always relate to digestive problems. Headaches, for example, are another symptom that, while uncommon, do occur. Migraines, in particular, tend to occur after the consumption of dairy. With lactose intolerance, you might find yourself experiencing feelings of light-headedness, which could link to the headaches.
If you're lactose intolerant, you might hear strange gurgling sounds coming from your stomach. This is normal for everybody to some degree. It's just the natural path of digestion. However, if you do have an intolerance, it can also be the precursor to a bad case of flatulence or diarrhea.
Vomiting is a rare symptom of lactose intolerance. People who are prone to vomiting are more likely to experience this than those who aren't. That said, it can and does happen. If you feel like you're going to throw up after you have dairy, you might feel a sense of relief if you do.
Fatigue is a symptom of just about every disorder or sickness. If you feel extreme fatigue after eating dairy, it's more likely that you have a milk allergy than lactose intolerance. That said, it's not out of the picture. Gastrointestinal problems can be so painful that they interrupt your sleep, explaining any fatigue you might be feeling.
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