A Lactose Intolerance (also referred to as a lactase deficiency or lactose malabsorption) is a non-immune related reaction to the milk sugar lactose that is found in Cow's milk and other dairy products.
This reaction is due to a person with a Lactose Intolerance not having enough of the enzyme Lactase (that breaks down Lactose in Milk/Dairy products) to digest the milk sugar lactose.
Both, a Lactose Intolerance and a Milk (Dairy) Allergy bring their own share of digestive problems and reactions that may come from similar and related products. However, a Lactose Intolerance is not to be confused with a Milk (Dairy) Allergy.
For products to be labelled as 'lactose free', this is when the milk sugar lactose from Milk/Dairy products has been removed. These products are friendly and safe to be consumed by those with a Lactose Intolerance, but not those with a Milk (Dairy) Allergy.
There are many products that may contain Lactose (scroll below to see some of the places it can be found in).
Some of the symptoms may be characterised by:
- Stomach pain
- Gas and bloating
The validity and severity of these symptoms are dependent on the individual and the level of exposure, as determined by a qualified health care provider.
If you experience, or are in the presence of someone that encounters, an immediate reaction (this may include difficulty breathing, wheezing, throat tightening, etc), call or have someone call triple zero (000) immediately.
In the case of immediate symptoms from minor consumption of the intolerant, the following may be used along with other medications based on the individual's symptoms and prescribed treatments:
- Dairy-free probiotics
If larger amounts of the intolerant are consumed (more than the individual's body can manage), seek medical attention to prevent larger health concerns.
It’s important for anyone with an Intolerance, to discuss treatments with a qualified health care provider to understand how to manage individual intolerance and also to set up an Intolerance Action Plan in the case of symptoms.
Always present your Allergy Card, Medical Alert Bracelet or Necklace to ensure health care providers, family members, friends, colleagues and others are aware of your Allergy or Allergies.
A Hydrogen Breath Test, Lactose Intolerance Test, Blood Glucose Test, Diet Elimination Test or Stool Acidity Test may be used to test for a Lactose Intolerance.
Some labels or terms you may come across on Lactose Intolerance friendly products:
While Cow’s milk contains more lactose, Goat milk and Sheep’s milk both contain the milk sugar lactose. This is important to keep in mind, so that a person with a Lactose Intolerance doesn't just use other animals milks as alternatives but instead focus on labelling such as 'Lactose Free".
WHERE YOU MAY COME ACROSS LACTOSE
The below is not a complete list, but just some of the places, you may come across Lactose:
- Ice Cream
- White Pasta Sauce
The information provided on Allergy Life Australia is to generally educate and inform you about living with allergies, intolerances and conditions, and is not intended as medical instruction or as a substitute for diagnosis, examination and advice by a qualified health care provider.
ARE THERE ANY OTHER PRODUCTS WITH LACTOSE YOU HAVE COME ACROSS? HAVE YOU HAD AN EXPERIENCE WITH A LACTOSE ALLERGY OR KNOW SOMEONE THAT HAS? LET US KNOW IN THE COMMENTS BELOW