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What Are The Symptoms Of A Dairy Allergy In Adults

Living With A Milk Allergy

Food Intolerance Symptoms in Adults

It can be challenging to eliminate milk from your diet, but it’s not impossible. Because most people don’t get enough calcium in their diets even if they do drink milk, many other foods are now enriched with calcium, such as juices, cereals, and rice and soy beverages. But before you eat or drink anything calcium-enriched, make sure it’s also dairy-free.

Milk and milk products can lurk in strange places, such as processed lunchmeats, margarine, baked goods, artificial butter flavor, and non-dairy products. Chocolate is another product that may contain dairy so be sure to check the label before you eat it.

Manufacturers of foods sold in the United States must list on their labels whether a food contains any of the most common allergens. This means that you should be able to find the word “milk” stated plainly in the ingredients list, in parentheses in the ingredients list, or somewhere on the label with a statement like: “Contains milk.”

It is optional, however, for food manufacturers to use “may contain” statements. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not control whether companies can say things like “Processed in a facility that also processes milk products” or “May contain milk.” So call the manufacturer to be sure if you see statements like this on a food label.

Some ingredients and foods that contain milk are:

What Are The Symptoms Of A Food Intolerance Or Allergy

Symptoms such as nausea, stomach pain and diarrhea are characteristic of both allergies and intolerances.; Additional allergy symptoms may include rash or hives, itchy skin, shortness of breath, chest pain, swelling of the airways to the lungs and anaphylaxis.; Intolerances may also cause additional symptoms to those already noted above such as gas, cramps, bloating, vomiting, heartburn, headaches and irritability or nervousness.

Diagnosing milk allergies in adults is not always straightforward since adults can develop them in the absence of any childhood history of allergies. ;In addition to clinical allergy tests, many doctors are now recommending elimination diets as an effective diagnostic tool for dairy allergies and intolerances.; They have found that this method is simple, free, highly effective, and tailored to the individual.

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.

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Milk Allergy Vs Milk Intolerance

6 minute read time

When we think about milk we tend to think about all the products that are made from milk such as, yoghurts, butter, ice cream, cheese, chocolate etc.; It is the white liquid we drink that is produced by female animals, most readily available from cows, sheep or goats. Milk provides the primary source of nutrition for babies before they are able to digest other types of food.In many cultures of the world, especially the Western world, humans continue to consume milk beyond infancy; humans are the exception in the natural world for consuming milk past this stage in life. But what happens when youre experiencing some uncomfortable side effects when you consume milk?

Am I More Likely To Have Dairy Allergy

What To Avoid With A Dairy Allergy

Youâre more likely to develop dairy allergy if:

  • You have other allergies
  • You have eczema
  • One or both of your parents has a food or other allergy, like hay fever, eczema or asthma
  • Youâre young. Milk allergy is more common in children. As you get older, your digestive system is less likely to react to milk, but you’re likelier to have lactose intolerance.

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What Is A Milk Allergy

Milk allergy, or dairy allergy, is one the most common food allergies that affect both children and adults. While more commonly seen within the first year of a babys life, milk allergy can occur at any age. Adults can develop an allergy to dairy products even if they used to be able to consume milk in the past without any issues.

Although milk allergy is often confused with lactose intolerance, they are not the same. Lactose intolerance is the inability to digest lactose, a sugar found in many dairy products. Milk allergy is; an immune response to proteins in milk, casein and whey.

Treatment For Cows Milk Allergy

If you or your child have been diagnosed with milk allergy, treatment involves total avoidance of milk or products containing milk. This can be difficult to achieve. ASCIA advises that children who are allergic to cows milk are often allergic to goats milk, and so substitution with a milk of animal origin may not be possible.To avoid milk and milk products, read food labels and avoid foods that contain milk or milk products such as:

  • butter

ASCIA has more information about dietary avoidance of cows milk for food allergy .Eliminate milk and milk products from your baby or young childs diet only under strict medical supervision. Your doctor will need to advise on replacement sources of calcium and protein, which are especially important nutrients for children. Replacement formulas for babies also needs to be carefully supervised. For example, some children with cows milk allergy will not be able to tolerate soy milk products.

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Dietary Restrictions For Cows Milk Allergy Should Be Supervised

Exclusion and reintroduction of cow’s milk and other dairy foods should only be undertaken with;advice from a medical specialist , particularly in cases of anaphylaxis. If long-term exclusion is required, an alternative source of calcium and protein is needed, to ensure adequate nutrition and growth.

Excluding foods from the diet during breastfeeding is rarely required, and if recommended, the maternal nutritional intake should be supervised, assessed and reviewed by a dietitian.; Assessment and review by a dietitian is also recommended for babies and children who need to exclude cows milk and other dairy foods.

What Should I Do If I Think I Have Lactose Malabsorption

Dairy Allergy Symptoms In Adults

Lactose malabsorption can be diagnosed by a hydrogen breath test, but this isnt always readily offered or available. Chat to your G.P. if youre experiencing symptoms as they will want to rule out other causes first.

If lactose malabsorption is suspected, you can trial a low lactose diet for two weeks, to see if theres any improvement in your symptoms. After two weeks of reducing the lactose in your diet, review your symptoms have they improved? If yes, you can test your tolerance to lactose by consuming a glass of milk to see if symptoms return.

If they do, this likely confirms lactose malabsorption, and you will need to limit higher lactose foods longer term to help manage symptoms. If you have seen no improvement over the two weeks, its unlikely that lactose is a problem for you and you can return to eating lactose containing foods. Remember that milk is an important source of calcium, protein and other vitamins and minerals so if youre choosing a plant milk over a dairy milk, look for one that is fortified with calcium, and ideally iodine.

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Lactose Intolerance Vs Milk Allergy

If you are lactose intolerant you can still ingest milk. There are several over-the-counter remedies, like lactaid, that provide lactase enzymes. There are also specially treated dairy products, with added enzymes, and you may also have success with yogurt and other fermented milk products.

If you have a milk allergy you should not ingest milk, even if your reaction to milk is relatively mild, according to Food Allergy Research and Education 2. The reason is that, while your reaction may be mild now, it can become worse over time â leaving you at great risk for anaphylaxis. If you have a milk allergy it would be better to consume milk substitutes like soy or rice products.

  • If you are lactose intolerant you can still ingest milk.
  • If you have a milk allergy you should not ingest milk, even if your reaction to milk is relatively mild, according to Food Allergy Research and Education 2.

Not All Reactions To Cows Milk Are Due To Allergy To Cows Milk Protein

Lactose intolerance: This is caused by the lack of the enzyme lactase, which helps to digest the milk sugar called lactose. Symptoms include diarrhoea, vomiting, stomach pain and gas .;This condition is uncomfortable but not dangerous and does not cause rashes or anaphylaxis. ;Allergy tests to cows milk are negative in people with lactose intolerance. Diagnosis is by temporary elimination of lactose and reintroduction.

Milk, mucus and cough: Some people complain that when they drink cows milk or eat other;dairy foods, that their throat feels coated and mucus is thicker and harder to swallow. Research has shown that these sensations;occur with similar liquids of the same thickness and are;not due to increased production of mucus.

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Milk Allergy Vs Lactose Intolerance Symptoms In Adults

Lactose intolerance symptoms in adults are similar to those of a milk allergy. How can you tell the difference? Is there a difference, in fact?

Although they share some symptoms, milk allergy and lactose intolerance are different conditions. However, it is easy to confuse them. For this reason, it is important to know how they differ.

Surely you have heard about dairy and some diseases that are related to its consumption. The most mentioned, probably, are milk allergy and lactose intolerance. Differences exist?

It is essential to keep in mind that, although both conditions share some symptoms, they cause different effects in the organism. Therefore, it is essential to know how to distinguish them.

Milk allergy is actually an allergy to cows milk protein, while lactose intolerance is the difficulty in absorbing the sugar present in milk called lactose.

What does the milk contain?

Milk contains several nutrients that are:

  • Proteins: casein and whey

In addition to these nutrients, milk has water.

Milk allergy or lactose intolerance?

Milk allergy is a condition that is usually caused by the protein fraction of milk. Cows milk is the usual cause of milk allergy, but sheep, goat, buffalo and other mammals can also cause this reaction.

Intolerance, on the other hand, occurs directly by the carbohydrate or milk sugar, called lactose, which in turn is composed of glucose and galactose .

How Much Lactose Is In My Food


Different types of dairy contain different amounts of lactose, and every body deals with lactose differently. Some people can tolerate a little, while others can tolerate a lot. Thats why your symptoms can be different depending on what you eat.;

See how much lactose is in the foods youre eating.

Food and Beverages

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Precautions And Possible Complications

If you or a loved one has a milk allergy then it is essential to always read the entire ingredient label of foods and beverages before consumption. Sometimes milk or milk-derived ingredients are within the list of the ingredients. Other times, milk may be listed in a Contains: Milk statement located underneath the regular list of ingredients. To learn more about reading labels:;Frequently Asked Questions About the Food Allergen Labeling Consumer Protection Act

Its also important to note that food manufacturers voluntarily choose whether or not to include advisory statements such as may contain milk or made in a facility with milk. Ask your doctor if it is safe for you to eat products with such warnings, which are not currently required by federal labeling law. In general, speak with your doctor if youre ever feeling unsure about whether or not a certain food item is problematic.

If you or your child experiences anaphylaxis to milk, use an epinephrine injection and get emergency medical care immediately. If you know that you or your child have the risk of experiencing;anaphylaxis, then your doctor will probably recommend having injectable;epinephrine, such as EpiPen, on hand at all times.;

Children with a milk allergy are also more likely to develop hay fever as well as allergies to other foods such as peanuts, soy, eggs or even beef.

Complications Of Lactose Intolerance

Milk and other dairy products contain calcium, protein and;vitamins, such as A, B12 and D.

Lactose also helps your body absorb a number of other minerals, such as magnesium and zinc.

These;vitamins and minerals are important for the development of strong, healthy bones.

If you’re lactose intolerant, getting the right amount of important vitamins and minerals can prove difficult.

This may lead to unhealthy weight loss and;put you at increased risk of developing the following conditions:

  • osteopenia ;where you have a very low bone-mineral density; left untreated, it can develop into osteoporosis
  • osteoporosis where your bones become thin and weak, and your risk of breaking a bone is increased
  • malnutrition when the food you eat does not give you the nutrients essential for a healthy functioning body; this means wounds can take longer to heal and you may start to feel tired or depressed

If you’re concerned that dietary restrictions are putting you at risk of complications, you may find it helpful to consult a dietitian.

They can advise you on your diet and whether you require food supplements.

Your GP should be able to refer you to an NHS dietitian free of charge. Or you can contact a private dietitian.

The British Dietetic Association has information on how to find a private dietitian.

Page last reviewed: 25 February 2019 Next review due: 25 February 2022

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Formula For Babies With Milk Allergies

Most pediatricians recommend soy-based formulas with added vitamins and minerals for babies allergic to milk.

If symptoms dont improve after a switch to soy, hypoallergenic formulas are available. These include extensively hydrolyzed formulas in which proteins have been broken down so they are less likely to cause a reaction.

The other type of hypoallergenic formula commonly used is known as an elemental formula, in which only the simplest forms of protein are used.

Signs Of Lactose Intolerance You Should Never Ignore

Dairy Allergy 101 | Signs & Symptoms | Story Time | Baby Allergies

While a food allergy will cause obvious symptoms, food intolerances often fly under the radar. When you have an intolerance, your body doesn’t know how to digest somethingoften a protein or enzymefound in the food you’re eating. As a result, your body can only partially break it down. But instead of life-threatening symptoms, as would be the case with an allergy, an intolerance like lactose intolerance typically gives you mild to moderate ones, meaning you may not even realize you have a problem.

Lactose intolerance is probably the most common of all the food intolerances, affecting around 36 percent of Americans. If you have lactose intolerance, your intestines don’t produce enough of an enzyme called lactase that breaks down the sugar, or lactose, found in milk. This also applies to other dairy products like cheese, yogurt, and ice cream

Your symptoms can vary based on how much lactase you produce. If your levels are moderately low, you might have a dairy “threshold,” or a maximum amount of lactose you can consume before feeling sick. If your lactase levels are very low, however, you may not be able to tolerate much lactose at all.

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How Is Milk Allergy Treated

The best way to manage all types of milk allergies and milk sensitivities is to avoid consuming dairy products. While there is no definitive treatment for milk allergy, some of the following measures may be taken to limit reactions:

  • Infants who develop milk allergies way before starting on;solid foods may be prescribed hypoallergenic infant formula.
  • For a life-threatening allergic reaction, treatment includes administering injectable epinephrine, oral or injectable antihistamines, or oral or injectable corticosteroids.
  • Treatment of food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome includes administering intravenous hydration and intravenous corticosteroids.


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Medically Reviewed on 8/23/2021

What About Dairy Allergies

Milk allergy is an abnormal reaction to one or more of the proteins in cows milk. It can cause anything from mild to severe symptoms and always involves the immune system. It affects about 3-6% of infants and young children, although most grow out of it by five years of age. Milk allergy in older children and adults is rare, but if you do suspect an allergy, its really important to speak to your G.P. who can refer you to an allergy specialist if necessary.

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Milk Or Casein Allergy: Cause And Symptoms

A casein allergy occurs when your body’s immune system mistakenly thinks the protein is harmful and inappropriately produces allergic antibodies for protection. Within minutes, the interaction between these antibodies and the specific protein triggers the release of body chemicals such as histamine that cause symptoms which may include:

The most serious reaction to milk allergy is called anaphylaxis. This is a potentially life-threatening reaction that can occur rapidly. Allergy to foods is believed to be the leading cause of anaphylaxis outside the hospital setting. People who have asthma and food allergies are at greater risk of complications and death if they develop an anaphylactic reaction.

Symptoms such as swelling inside your mouth, chest pain, hives or difficulty breathing within minutes of consuming a milk product may mean you are experiencing an anaphylactic reaction and need emergency medical attention.


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