Do you sometimes feel bloated and gassy after eating dairy? Do you have trouble digesting milk or other dairy products? You may be one of the millions of adults sensitive to dairy.
How Do I Know if I'm Sensitive to Dairy?
There are some general signs and symptoms. The following are dairy sensitivity symptoms to be on the lookout for...
General Signs and Symptoms of Dairy Sensitivity
- stomach pain or cramps - bloating and gas - diarrhea or constipation - nausea or vomiting - skin rash or hives - itchy eyes - runny nose - sneezing - coughing
Popular Food Sources of Dairy
- cow/goat/sheep milk - buttermilk - cheese - cream - custard - ice cream - sour cream - kefir - ghee and butter - yogurt
Other Examples of Foods & Products That Often Contain Milk
- baked goods - cereals - chocolate - canned tuna fish - deli meats - hot dogs - lunch meats - sauces and soups - coffee drinks and lattes - seasonings - high protein flours - instant mashed potatoes - pizza - frozen prepared meals - waxes on some fruits and vegetables
Lactose intolerance unfolds when you don't have enough of the enzyme lactase to break down lactose, a type of sugar found in dairy products.
Undigested lactose ends up being food for the resident gut microbes. As they ferment the lactose, they create gases that cause bloating, flatulence, pain, and sometimes diarrhea.
Lactase deficiency affects up to 15% of people with northern European ancestry, up to 80 percent of black and Latino individuals, and up to 100% of American Indians and Asians.
Dairy sensitivity is an immune reaction to dairy proteins. When a person with dairy sensitivity eats dairy, their body produces antibodies to fight the dairy proteins.
Dairy sensitivity symptoms usually appear within minutes to hours after consuming dairy. In severe cases, it can cause anaphylaxis, a life-threatening reaction requiring immediate medical attention.
The two main dairy or milk proteins that people are allergic to are casein and whey, and you can be allergic to one or both of these proteins.
Seek Medical Advice
If you're unsure whether you have a dairy sensitivity, lactose intolerance, or milk allergy, it's important to see a doctor.
Dairy Allergy Tests
There is no standard test for cow's milk allergy. As a result, the diagnosis isn't simple, and based on the patient's history of symptoms and physical examination.
Dairy Allergy Tests
There are a few different tests that can be used to diagnose lactose intolerance. These include: - Hydrogen breath test - Stool acidity test - Exclusion diet - Lactose tolerance test
What about milk from other animals?
The proteins in cow's milk are comparable to those found in goat, sheep, and other ruminant milk. So, if you're allergic to cow's milk, it's likely you will also have a negative response to other milks.
How Can You Safeguard Yourself?
1. Read food labels carefully. Look for dairy ingredients like whey, casein, and lactose. 2. When in doubt, ask the waiter or chef about the ingredients in a dish. 3. Bring your own dairy-free food to parties and potlucks. 4. Be aware that dairy can be hidden in unexpected places, like medications, vitamins, and supplements. Always read the labels on these products.