Dairy Food Intolerance: What Is It And How Do I Know If I Have It?

Do you feel ill after eating dairy products? This is often blamed on lactose intolerance or an allergic reaction to dairy proteins, but there is actually a third condition that could be causing your symptoms: dairy food intolerance. In fact, according to some estimates, as much as 75% of the world's population suffers from dairy sensitivity or intolerance, although most only to a minor degree.

While the symptoms may be similar, the causes of these conditions are not. Dairy allergies trigger an immune system response, while lactose intolerance is the inability to process lactose, a sugar found in milk, due to an absence of lactase, a necessary enzyme. Dairy intolerance, on the other hand, may be caused by a reaction to lactose or to casein, a milk protein.

Symptoms are generally noticed after consuming dairy products. While some people with this condition experience symptoms after even a trace of dairy, others experience discomfort only after substantial portions of dairy products.

The most common symptoms of dairy intolerance include nausea, stomach pain, bloating, cramping, gas, and diarrhea. Other symptoms include acne, eczema, and other skin conditions, chronic fatigue, irritability, and headaches. There are also many other symptoms that may be experienced by those with a dairy intolerance; the wide range of symptoms can make it difficult to accurately diagnose this food intolerance.

If you believe that you are suffering from dairy intolerance, an elimination diet may pinpoint the cause. If your symptoms disappear after removing all dairy products from your diet, dairy was the likely culprit. Although there is no cure for dairy food intolerance, removing dairy from your diet can halt symptoms.

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