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What Triggers Lactose Intolerance?

There are people in this world who are allergic to dairy. Whenever they ingest dairy products, they start developing severe stomach aches, bloating, diarrhoea, and other gastrointestinal symptoms.  It can often seem sad even to think they miss out on so many delicious foods and desserts like ice cream and custards. However to keep it from turning dangerous it is suggested to take a lactose tolerance test as soon as the person recognises the tell tale signs of lactose intolerance. But what are the triggers for lactose intolerance.

Why does it happen?

Why does it happen to some people while others are just fine? We have to dig deep to find out the cause. The problem lies deep at the cellular level. These people are short of an enzyme, lactase. But, how does a minor problem like this cause such major issues like lactose indigestion? Perhaps, this will explain.


The main protein in our milk products is lactose. In our gut, there is an enzyme, lactase. It chops down these proteins into smaller amino acids. It is so our body can absorb it conveniently. This is what happens typically. In contrast, some of us lack this enzyme. Without lactase, lactose accumulates in our intestines. It is where the problem occurs. Bacteria’s use this accumulated lactose and make gases in our stomach.

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What are the symptoms?

The symptoms will sometimes present themselves after ingestion of the dairy product. It may take thirty minutes to two hours. The symptoms include,

  • Loose motions 
  • Stomach swelling
  • Stomach ache
  • Gases
  • Nausea 

The condition is highly inconvenient for the person. 

How to suspect it?

You can acquire lactose intolerance at any age. Therefore, if you feel discomfort in your belly after ingesting a cup of milk, consult your doctor. Your doctor will put you up for a lactose tolerance test. 

Lactose tolerance test

It is also called a hydrogen breath test. This is because every person exhales a small amount of hydrogen. But if you are lactose intolerant, the quantity increases.

In this lactose tolerance test, your doctor will give you a lactose drink. You will ingest it and wait. After some time, you will breathe it out in a container. A visible difference in the hydrogen gas quantity will confirm that you are lactose intolerant. 

What can trigger it?

To put it simply, anything with milk and lactose. That includes all dairy products, creams, cheese, desserts, etc. Most often, these people need to avoid all these products. 

Milk is an essential source of nutrients. We need it for growth and development. Moreover, it is a huge source of calcium. Avoiding all these will put a person at risk for other deficiencies. 

Lactose intolerance is like a double-edged sword; it will hurt when you take dairy and when you don’t. 

What should we do about it?

Our first problem is about the consumption of dairy. For this, we have devised lactose-reduced or lactose-free dairy products. 

For milk, we suggest almond, soy, or rice milk. 

Our second problem involves becoming deficient in nutrients and minerals. We have substitutes for this as well. Leafy green vegetables like broccoli and spinach are excellent sources of calcium, and so are dry fruits. 

Bottom line 

For lactose intolerance, we have no cure. Our best chances lie in preventing the symptoms. Therefore, avoid dairy or use substitutes.