What is it?
Lactose intolerance is the inability to digest lactose, the main carbohydrate or sugar found in milk, and in dairy products made from milk, including yoghurt, ice cream, soft cheeses and butter. It is not an allergic reaction and the symptoms are rarely serious.
What are the symptoms?
The signs and symptoms of lactose intolerance usually begin 30 minutes to two hours after eating or drinking foods that contain lactose. Common signs and symptoms include:
- Nausea, and sometimes, vomiting.
- Abdominal cramps.
What to expect?
If you are diagnosed with lactose intolerance, you can consider discussing the following subjects with your doctor:
- As lactose intolerance may need to be ruled out from other serious conditions, diagnostic tests may be requested. What are these tests that you may need to undergo? Are there preparations needed before undergoing these tests?
- Patients with lactose intolerance are often referred to a dietitian for dietary advice. Is this the case for you as well?
- A healthy diet and an active lifestyle can improve overall health and wellbeing. Which changes can you make in your life style?
In addition to treatment by your doctor you can try the following things:
- Cocoa powder is known to aid in the digestion of lactose.
- Sardines are an excellent calcium source and are good for people who cannot consume milk and dairy products. Other foods that are rich in calcium include salmon, dark green leafy vegetables, sesame seeds and dried apricots.
- Chocolate contains calcium which is easily absorbed and people with lactose intolerance will be able to tolerate it better than regular milk.
- Hard cheeses have lower levels of lactose content than softer cheeses such as cottage and cream cheese.
- Drink soy milk.
- Yogurt contains active cultures that have high amounts of calcium and hence are beneficial for individuals with lactose intolerance.
- Saffron is an expensive herb that helps to eliminate toxins from the bloodstream. Saffron also helps in digestion and improving circulation to the digestive organs such as the spleen, liver and gallbladder.
- Chamomile is a beneficial natural treatment for lactose intolerance, so drinking chamomile tea will be helpful.
- Ginger helps to soothe pain and cramps arising from digestive problems.