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self-care for lactose intolerance including not consuming dairy

Self-Care for Lactose Intolerance

Lactose intolerance is a digestive disorder that can occur in children and adults. The symptoms usually arise after consuming dairy such as cow’s and goat’s milk, as well as other dairy products. What is lactose intolerance, and how is the self-care for it? Let’s check the explanation below!

What is Lactose Intolerance?

Lactose intolerance is a digestive disorder when the body can’t break down or digest lactose. Lactose is a sugar found in breast milk, cow’s milk, goat’s milk, and dairy products such as cheese, yogurt, butter, and ice cream.

In normal conditions, the intestines produce an enzyme called lactase to break down lactose into simpler sugars, namely glucose and galactose. In individuals with lactose intolerance, small intestine does not make enough of lactase enzyme, therefore preventing proper lactose digestion.

Undigested lactose enters the large intestine, where it is fermented by bacteria, producing gas and causing various lactose intolerance symptoms. The symptoms will be explained in the next session.

What are The Symptoms of Lactose Intolerance?

Individuals with lactose intolerance may experience various symptoms. The symptoms often starts between 30 minutes to 2 hours after consuming lactose-containing products. Common symptoms include:

a. diarrhea,

b. bloating,

c. abdominal pain,

d. cramps,

e. nausea,

f. vomiting,

g. frequent flatulence.

Sometimes, these symptoms present with headaches, loss of concentration, urinary symptoms, muscle pain, and joint pain.

How is Lactose Intolerance Diagnosed?

To diagnose lactose intolerance, doctor will talk to you about your symptoms and dietary history. 

Your doctor will also give you physical examinations by tap your abdomen to check for bloating, tension, and tenderness, also listening to your bowel sounds with a stethoscope.

Diagnostic tests for lactose intolerance:

1. Hydrogen Breath Test

This test measures the hydrogen levels of breath after consuming a lactose-containing products.

In lactose intolerance patients, the hydrogen levels exceed normal limits. This occurs because undigested lactose is fermented in the large intestine, producing hydrogen.

During the test, the patient will be asked to drink a liquid containing high lactose. Then the hydrogen levels in breath will be measured. High level of hydrogen indicates lactose intolerance.

2. Lactose Tolerance Test

This test measures blood sugar levels after consuming lactose-containing products. The patient will be asked not to drink or eat anything for several hours, then the blood sugar levels will be measured.

Afterward, the patient is given food or a drink containing lactose. Then, blood sugar is measured again after 1 hour and 2 hours. If the blood sugar levels do not increase, it indicates lactose intolerance.

3. Stool Acidity Test

This test is conducted by taking a sample of the patient’s stool. Lactose that remains undigested will be fermented by bacteria in the large intestine, turning into lactic acid.

After that, this lactic acid will be expelled with the stool. Therefore, if lactic acid is detected in the stool, it suggests the possibility that the patient is suffering from lactose intolerance.

4. Intestinal Biopsy

A biopsy is a procedure to take tissue samples, for example in organ or skins. In patients that are suspected of having lactose intolerance, intestinal tissue is sampled to determine the levels of lactase in the intestine.

However, intestinal biopsies are rarely performed because they require a surgical procedure and analytical equipment that are not available in all healthcare facilities.

How to Self-Care for Lactose Intolerance?

There is no cure for lactose intolerance. Typically, doctors recommend avoiding products containing lactose.

Therefore, individuals with lactose intolerance need to be aware of the content/ingredients of food and beverages before consumption. Some food and beverages to be avoided by those with lactose intolerance include:

– Animal milk, such as cow’s and goat’s milk

– Dairy products like cheese, yogurt, and butter

– Products that use milk as an ingredient, such as cakes, bread, biscuits, and ice cream

However, you can still consume milk. Choose low-lactose milk like cashew milk.

Arummi’s Recommendation: Cashew Milk as a Substitute for Cow’s Milk

If you have lactose intolerance and still want to drink milk, you can choose low/free-lactose milk. Nowadays, there are many plant-based milk products that are nutritious and delicious, such as cashew milk.

Choose products that are guaranteed to be safe. Arummi cashew milk can be your choice. Get Arummi cashew milk and enjoy the taste of milk without worry. Let’s get Arummi cashew milk in the nearest supermarket of your town!

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