How do you know if you are Lactose intolerant?
The gold standard test for lactose intolerance would be a Hydrogen Breath test. The individual would be required to fast for a number of hours prior to the test being done. They would then breathe into a specific apparatus which would measure their baseline hydrogen output in their expelled breath. They would then be given a high lactose liquid to drink and measurement for hydrogen would be done at intervals and ascertained as to whether or not they are digesting lactose efficiently or not.
Other symptoms of lactose intolerance are quite general and none specific such as noisy stomach, bloating, belching, distension, flatulence and discomfort as well as diarrhoea or vomiting.
Lactose intolerance is caused by the inherent lack of the enzyme that digests lactose, the natural sugar found in milk. Thus after drinking or eating dairy containing foods that contain lactose you may get a ‘bubbly’ tummy and possibly some mild cramping as the lactose is fermented by our gut bacteria into lactic acid. A few hours after drinking or eating lactose containing dairy products the stool that is passed will have a distinct sour smell.
For further reading please visit our page on Lactose Intolerance.