One of the most common food allergies, lactose intolerance affects adults and children all over the world. In fact, as we get older, we lose 70% of the enzyme we need to digest the lactose from milk. So, even if you’re not lactose intolerant, chances are your body doesn’t have an easy time digesting this sugar.
Here are some common signs of undiagnosed lactose intolerance.
Bloating and Stomach Pain
When our bodies can’t break down lactose, it moves through the stomach until it gets to our colon. However, the cells in our colon lining can’t absorb lactose, so it gets broken down by the microflora that lives in our colon. That releases gasses and water which can make you feel bloated and cause stomach pain.
This increase of water in the colon can affect the consistency of the stool and cause diarrhea. More than 45 grams of carbs in the colon are needed to cause diarrhea. This amounts to between three and four cups of milk, assuming that you don’t digest any of the lactose that enters your organism.
As mentioned above, when the microflora in our colon breaks down lactose, it releases gases and water. The gases that get released are methane, hydrogen, and carbon dioxide. They can cause cramps and stomach pain.
This sign of lactose intolerance is also due to gases. The gas in question here is methane – scientists believe that this gas can cause the food to move more slowly through the stomach, which results in constipation.
If you notice any of these signs of undiagnosed lactose intolerance, contact your doctor. There are tests you can do to determine whether these symptoms are caused by lactose intolerance or another underlying condition.