Diagnosis of Lactose Intolerance
Below is the diagnostic procedure usually followed for the health condition.
Medical history. Your doctor will thoroughly check your family history and personal medical history.
Physical examination. Your doctor may require a physical examination based on the symptoms you are experiencing. They are likely to ask you to skip having any dairy products to observe whether that helps in improving your condition.
Lactose tolerance test. Your doctor may advise you to take this test, which evaluates the ability of your digestive system to absorb lactose. You have to fast for about 8 hours before taking the test. This means that you have to stay away from both food and water. During the test, you will be asked to drink lactose. A few samples of blood will be taken over a span of 2 hours to check your level of blood sugar. If your blood sugar does not increase, it means that you are lactose intolerant.
Hydrogen breath test. This test also requires you to drink lactose. Your breath will then be checked many times for analyzing the hydrogen level in your mouth. High levels of hydrogen may indicate that you are lactose intolerant.
Stool acidity test. This test is used for infants and young children. This test, appropriate only for children, measures the level of acid in the stool. The presence of fatty acids like lactic acid, glucose, etc. in stool indicates lactose intolerance.
Treatment for Lactose Intolerance
Treatment for lactose intolerance involves introducing changes to your daily diet. There is no treatment that can help your body produce more lactase. Previously, people with lactose intolerance were asked to avoid milk and other dairy products altogether.
In contrast, people are now asked to restrict their consumption or try various types of dairy products at different times to understand whether these suit them.
The following are the dietary changes you can start with.
- Check how much you can tolerate. Increase the consumption of milk and dairy products slowly and see how much your body can tolerate. Preferably start with the easily digestible milk products like yogurt and cheese and gradually move on to other dairy products.
- Opt for dairy products with low lactose levels. Like we discussed before, choose yogurt, cottage cheese, and cheese over the other milk products that take comparatively more time to digest.
- Combine milk products with other food items. Eat milk products with your meals rather than having them as independent products. For instance, eat a bowl of fruit custard or cheese sandwich rather than having the milk product alone. Also, fresh milk is usually the most difficult to digest. So, you might want to keep it for later.
- Eat dairy products with naturally lower levels of lactose. These include hard cheese and yogurt.
- Look for lactose-free milk and milk products. Lactose-free products and those with reduced lactose content are becoming increasingly more popular.
- Lactase supplements. Your doctor may prescribe a lactase drop or pill to aid in the digestion of milk and milk products.
Lifestyle Changes for Lactose Intolerance
Living with lactose intolerance may be tricky but not impossible. Once you are aware of all the dairy products that your body has a strong response to, you can discard them completely from your daily diet. You can also try to figure out if these products affect you if only taken in a certain quantity, so that you may continue consuming them with certain restrictions. Make sure you do this only under the guidance of your doctor.