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Is Lactose Intolerance An Allergy

Is Lactose Intolerance An Allergy

Milk Allergy vs. Lactose Intolerance Medical Course

Lactose intolerance affects a staggeringly huge percentage of adult population worldwide. Does it classify as a disease? Or is it an allergic reaction? Let us find out.

Lactose intolerance affects a staggeringly huge percentage of adult population worldwide. Does it classify as a disease? Or is it an allergic reaction? Let us find out.

Putting all speculation to rest, lactose intolerance is not an allergy. In simple terms, a lactose intolerant individual is anyone who cannot digest milk. Lactose intolerance is a condition where our body does not produce the required amount of lactase, an enzyme that helps digest lactose.

Living With Lactose Intolerance

Food intolerance and food allergies often produce similar symptoms, but they’re not the same. If dairy products leave you feeling gassy and bloated or cause diarrhea or nausea, you may have either condition.

What’s the difference? A dairy allergy is an immune system response to milk protein. In addition to feeling bloated or causing diarrhea, symptoms of a dairy allergy can include hives, wheezing, vomiting, cramps, and skin rashes. Dairy intolerance results from inadequate levels of lactase, the enzyme that breaks down milk sugar. While lactose intolerance can cause a lot of discomfort, it isn’t life threatening, while a milk allergy can be.

The severity of lactose intolerance varies. For some people, consuming any dairy product causes their digestive tracts to rebel. Others can enjoy yogurt, ice cream, or even an occasional glass of milk.

The most successful approach to coping with lactose intolerance is to first avoid all dairy products. If you are lactose intolerant and love milk in all its forms, try experimenting with small amounts of dairy. In general, yogurt, cheese, and sour cream may be easier to tolerate because they contain less lactose than milk. However, several studies suggest that many people who are lactose intolerant can consume the equivalent of eight ounces of milk with no ill effects, and somewhat more when the lactose-containing food is part of a meal.

Is Lactose Intolerance A Disease

Technically speaking, it is not a disease. If you are intolerant, it means that your body is not adequately secreting a particular enzyme that is required in the digestion process. It also does not initiate an immune response involving antibodies. The occurrence of lactose intolerance has become so common, that it cannot be considered a disease. Lactose intolerance in its mild form does not need any medical attention too. As it is a deficiency, it is permanent in nature. A controlled diet is known to provide relief.

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What To Do About It And Foods To Avoid

Milk allergy treatment is all about avoiding foods that contain dairy products. Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent an allergy, other than not coming into contact.

The obvious foods that you cannot consume include:

  • Whole milk, low-fat milk, skim milk, buttermilk
  • Butter
  • Ice cream, gelato
  • Cheese and anything that contains cheese

But the real danger lies with those food items that contain hidden milk products. Anything from canned tuna, to bread, to sauces can have some added dairy product.

You can check if a product has added dairy by looking out for these names on the ingredients list.

  • Milk,;Milk solids, and;Milk powder
  • Whey
  • Whey protein concentrate
  • Milk by-products

Thats a lot of ingredients to check out for! But could mean the difference between life and death.

Whats even more frustrating is that some non-dairy products do in fact contain allergy-causing milk proteins.

Managing a dairy allergy means being cautious of everything you eat everywhere you go. Eating out becomes more challenging, as you need to ask about food preparation and make the restaurant aware of your allergy. Some people may find that they cannot even sit next to their other half while they are eating dairy products.

You can talk to your doctor about being prepared in case of an emergency. People with a severe reaction risk wear a medical bracelet and carry an adrenaline shot with them.

What Happens With A Milk Allergy

Lactose Intolerance And Dairy Allergy  What You Need To ...

Food allergies involve the body’s immune system, which normally fights infection. When someone is allergic to a particular food, the immune system overreacts to proteins in that food.

People who are allergic to cow’s milk react to one or more of the proteins in it. Curd, the substance that forms chunks in sour milk, contains 80% of milk’s proteins, including several called caseins . Whey , the watery part of milk, holds the other 20%. A person may be allergic to proteins in either or both parts of milk.

Every time the person eats these proteins, the body thinks they are harmful invaders. The immune system responds by kicking into high gear to fend off the “invader.” This causes an allergic reaction, in which chemicals like histamine are released in the body.

The release of these chemicals can cause someone to have the following problems:

  • wheezing
  • swelling
  • a drop in blood pressure

Milk allergy is like most food allergy reactions: It usually happens within minutes to hours after eating foods that contain milk proteins.

Although it’s not common, milk allergies can cause a severe reaction called anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis may begin with some of the same symptoms as a less severe reaction, but then quickly worsen. A person might have trouble breathing, feel lightheaded, or pass out. If it’s not treated, anaphylaxis can be life-threatening.

  • Milk allergy is a problem involving the immune system.
  • Lactose intolerance involves the digestive system .

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Milk Allergy Vs Lactose Intolerance

Learn about the differences between milk allergy and lactose intolerance.

Milk allergy should not be confused with lactose intolerance.

A food allergy happens when your immune system overreacts to a specific food protein. When you eat or drink the food protein, it can trigger an allergic reaction. Symptoms can range from mild to severe . A food allergy can be potentially life-threatening.

Unlike food allergies, food intolerances do not involve the immune system. People who are lactose intolerant are missing the enzyme lactase. Lactase breaks down lactose, a sugar found in milk and dairy products. As a result, people with lactose intolerance are unable to digest these foods. They may experience symptoms such as nausea, cramps, gas, bloating and diarrhea. While lactose intolerance can cause great discomfort, it is not life-threatening.

How Is Lactose Intolerance Diagnosed

A doctor can usually tell whether you have lactose intolerance by asking questions about your symptoms. He or she may also ask that you avoid dairy products for a short time to see if your symptoms improve.

Sometimes doctors order a hydrogen breath test or a blood sugar test to confirm the diagnosis. These simple tests check to see if you are digesting lactose normally.

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Articles On Lactose Intolerance Symptoms

Lactose intolerance and dairy allergy sound a lot alike. Many people think theyâre the same thing. But, how theyâre caused are very different.

Lactose intolerance involves the digestive system: If you have it, your body doesnât make lactase, the enzyme needed to digest lactose. Thatâs the sugar in milk. Instead of digesting normally in your stomach and small intestine, undigested lactose moves into your colon, where itâs broken down by bacteria and causes bloating and gas. It can be uncomfortable, but itâs not dangerous.

Lactose intolerance is common in adults â about 30 million Americans have it by age 20. Itâs more common in people with Asian, African or Native American heritage and less common in people with a northern or western European background.

Dairy allergy involves the immune system: If you have it, your body reacts to the proteins in milk and other dairy products as if theyâre dangerous invaders. It releases substances that cause allergy symptoms. This allergic reaction can be mild to severe .

Dairy allergy is one of most common allergies, especially in children. As many as 2 in every 100 children under 4 years old are allergic to milk. Itâs even more common in babies.

Signs Your Child Is Lactose Intolerant

Lactose Intolerance vs. Milk Protein Allergy – Dr. Elaine Barfield & Shara Wagowski, RD

Ifyour child is intolerant, the more lactose he or she consumes, the moresymptoms he or she will experience.

Here are some symptoms you should watch out for, especially after your child eats dairy products:

  • Stomach bloating, gas and nausea.
  • Skin rash and frequent colds.
  • Generalized abdominal pain and cramping.

Parents sometimes confuse lactose intolerance with milk allergy. Although the two have similar symptoms, they are very different conditions. A milk allergy is a serious immune system reaction that usually appears in the first year of life. Lactose intolerance is a digestive issue that is rarely seen in infants or toddlers.

Lactose intolerance symptoms can start in late childhood or adolescence, and can become more noticeable into adulthood.

Aside from the discomfort associated with these symptoms, lactose intolerance is a nonthreatening disorder with no long-term complications. Symptoms can be avoided by limiting certain foods in your childs diet.

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Other Foods And Drinks

As well as milk and dairy products, there are other foods and drinks that can sometimes contain lactose.

These include:

  • salad cream, salad dressing and mayonnaise
  • biscuits
  • some types of bread and other baked goods
  • some breakfast cereals
  • packets of mixes to make pancakes and biscuits
  • packets of instant potatoes and instant soup
  • some processed meats, such as sliced ham

Check the ingredients of all food and drink products carefully, because milk or lactose are often hidden ingredients.

The lactose found in some foods;won’t necessarily be listed separately on the food label, so you need to check the ingredients list for milk, whey, curds and milk;products such as cheese, butter and cream.

Some ingredients may sound like they contain lactose when they don’t, such as;lactic acid, sodium lactate and cocoa butter. These ingredients don’t need to be avoided if you’re lactose intolerant.

Lactose Intolerance How Is It Produced And What Is The Treatment

Does drinking milk give you stomach pain, gas and bloating ? It may be that you have a milk protein allergy , do not digest lactose well or have an intolerance. Do you know what it means to have lactose intolerance and the options you have to not exclude dairy from your diet? In this article we will tell you

Lactose intolerance is the lack of the bodys ability to properly digest the sugar that is present in milk , be it goat, cow or even maternal milk. It is a problem that is quite common, since it is estimated that half of humanity has lactose intolerance, at a lower or higher level.

In Spain it is estimated that between 10% and 15% of the population does not tolerate lactose and more than 30% suffer from poor digestion or intolerance in some of its degrees.


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What’s The Difference Between These Two

Although both lactose intolerance and dairy allergy are caused due to milk and have some common symptoms such as nausea and diarrhoea and seem to be very similar to each other, here are some points to explain the difference between the two-

  • Lactose intolerance involves the digestive system whereas the diary allergy happens due to the immune response by the immune system of the body.
  • Lactose intolerance is caused due to indigestion of sugar substance lactose in the milk whereas dairy allergy is a reaction to the milk proteins called casein and whey.
  • The symptoms of lactose intolerance come up immediately or within 30 minutes whereas it takes several hours or even days for the symptoms of dairy allergy to show up.

Although it can be hard to live with these allergies and disorders it is advised that one must seek medical help in such cases and get themselves tested and treated through a specialist in order to lead a healthy life.


Here are some tips by Dr. Siddhant Bhargava which can help you to understand the issue better and help in recovery.

  • Lactose intolerance is a condition that cannot be prevented
  • The symptoms of lactose intolerance such as Nausea, Diarrhoea, Vomiting and Cramps can be cured by consuming less dairy.
  • There are chances that a person with lactose intolerance can consume processed milk products such as cheese and paneer as more processed the milk would be, the less the lactose content in it.

Main Image Credits- Liver Doctor

British Columbia Specific Information

What Is Lactose Intolerance? What Are Its Causes, Symptoms ...

If you are lactose intolerant and you limit or avoid milk and other dairy products, you need to still make sure that you get enough calcium and Vitamin D. Both of these nutrients are important for the health of your bones. To learn about how much calcium and vitamin D you need each day, and for examples of non-dairy sources of these nutrients, see HealthLinkBC File # 68e Food Sources or Calcium and Vitamin D. You may also call 8-1-1 to speak to a registered dietitian, Monday to Friday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., or you can Email a HealthLinkBC Dietitian.

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Diagnosis Of Lactose Intolerance

If lactose intolerance is suspected, standardized and objective testing should be done to confirm diagnosis, as it is important to distinguish lactose intolerance from other causes of gastrointestinal symptoms. Self-diagnosis of lactose intolerance is often incorrect and can lead to unnecessary dietary restrictions.2

The hydrogen breath test is the most objective test to diagnose lactose malabsorption.1,2 The hydrogen breath test requires that patients consume a standard dose of lactose after fasting. Hydrogen levels in the breath are then measured over a 3-hour period.2,4 The fermentation of undigested lactose by intestinal flora produces hydrogen, carbon dioxide and methane, which are eliminated by the lungs through the breath. These gases also cause bloating, flatulence, abdominal pain and diarrhea. Lactose malabsorption is diagnosed if hydrogen levels are elevated. In the case of lactose intolerance, gastrointestinal symptoms will also occur. The test is widely used, but its reliability depends on the activity of bacterial flora.4 False-negative tests can occur due to several conditions that may affect the intestinal flora, e.g. recent use of antibiotics or antimicrobial agents.

Some other less common tests used to diagnose lactose malabsorption are:2,4

  • Intestinal biopsyLactase activity from an intestinal sample is measured through direct biochemical assay. However, because of the invasiveness of intestinal biopsies, lactose tolerance tests have been developed.
  • Arent Dairy Products Important For Health

    Dairy is a great source of calcium, and is also high in other nutrients and vitamins such as A, B12, and D. These nutrients combined are excellent for good bone health and higher bone mineral density.

    If you do have dairy allergy and/or lactose intolerance, there are still ways to get the important nutrients that you would usually get from dairy products.

    It is recommended that adults have an intake of 1000 mg of calcium per day. Luckily there are plenty of other options for getting your intake without having to think about supplements.

    Some calcium rich foods:

    • Fortified tofu

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    Diagram Naming The Parts Of The Gut

    Lactose is a sugar found in milk. It cannot become absorbed by the body unless is gets changed into more simple sugars called glucose and galactose. This change happens when the lactose passes through the stomach into the upper part of the gut and comes into contact with a chemical called lactase.

    Lactase is made by cells that line the upper part of the small intestine.

    If there is not enough lactase in the small intestine, lactose cannot be broken down and cannot get absorbed. This leads to lactose intolerance.

    Some people confuse lactose intolerance with allergy to cow’s milk. With milk allergy, your immune system reacts to proteins found in milk, which can cause symptoms.

    Lactose intolerance is not an allergy. Symptoms are caused by the undigested lactose in the gut.

    Treatment For Cows’ Milk Allergy

    Lactose Intolerance or Milk Allergy?

    If your baby is found to be allergic to cows’ milk, your GP or allergy specialist will explain to you how to manage it. This will include removing all cows milk from your childs diet for a period of time. Your GP may also prescribe a special infant formula that doesn’t contain cows’ milk for bottle-fed babies.

    If your baby gets a cows milk allergy in reaction to the dairy you eat or drink, your GP may tell you to avoid cows milk products in your diet in case these affect your baby.

    this is the case, your GP may tell you to avoid cows milk products in your diet in case these affect your baby.

    Your GP or dietitian will help you work out the best diet for your child at whatever stage they are at and closely follow your child’s progress. Your doctor will suggest reintroducing milk after a while to see if your child has grown out of their allergy.

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    Does My Child Have A Cow’s Milk Allergy

    If you are concerned your child is reacting to cow’s milk or another food, it is important to make sure you see a doctor. In the meantime, keeping a food diary for your child if they are weaned can prove very useful.

    If you are breastfeeding your baby, it is still possible for them to react to cow’s milk through your milk. So if you are breastfeeding and concerned your child is having a reaction, please see your doctor to discuss things further.

    What Is Cows’ Milk Allergy

    Most infant formula milk is made from cows’ milk. The first time a baby has cows’ milk, it’s very likely to be in formula. That’s because cows’ milk itself isn’t recommended as a drink for children under the age of 1. But from around 6 months old, when a baby is being introduced to solids, they can have cows milk as an ingredient in foods.

    Cows’ milk allergy is one of the most common allergies for babies and young children. Experts estimate that 2% to 7.5% of U.K. babies under 12 months old have it. If it happens, your child’s immune system reacts to the proteins in milk, triggering allergy symptoms. That’s why it’s sometimes called cows’ milk protein allergy.

    If your baby does get an allergy to cow’s milk, it usually starts when your baby is first exposed to cow’s milk, through formula, or later with solid foods.

    Sometimes, but not very often, babies who are breastfed can have this allergy. It’s because the cows’ milk from the mum’s diet is being passed on to the baby through their breast milk.

    Most children grow out of the allergy by the time they reach the age of 5.;

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