Milk Intolerance Vs Lactose Intolerance

Do you suspect that you’re reacting to milk? It’s easy to get befuddled by the different terms associated with an intolerance to dairy, but we’re here to help you recognise the difference between them all.

Dairy products are typically high in fat content

First things first. You may have heard people refer to a dairy intolerance and use this tag interchangeably with the term milk intolerance. The same people may also refer to their reactions to milk as dairy intolerance symptoms.

Dairy of course is a category of food product that contains milk, whereas milk refers to the individual ingredient that you may splash into your tea and soak up your muesli with. These terms therefore refer to the same thing! If you’re intolerant to milk, then you’re also intolerant to dairy and vice versa.

Milk intolerance symptoms occur when your body reacts to the proteins in milk and, mistaking them for a harmful invader, send IgG antibodies to attack them. The effects of this could include the following complaints:

  • IBS
  • Bloating
  • Migraines
  • Skin problems
  • Joint pain
  • Tiredness
  • Eczema
  • Mild respiratory problems

Have you been experiencing symptoms like this? In the first instance, you should always visit your GP to rule out any underlying conditions. You can then get tested for a cow’s milk intolerance with one of our programmes. Our programmes check your reactions to up to 208 foods and drinks and also include expert dietary support from a qualified nutritional therapist.

The signs of a dairy intolerance are very different to the signs of a dairy allergy. An allergic reaction is much more severe than the effects of an intolerance and could include things like trouble breathing, severe itching and a swollen face or tongue. It’s very important that you see a doctor as soon as possible if this happens to you.

What is lactose intolerance?

Lactose intolerance is a relatively common digestive complaint, thought to affect roughly 5% of the population. To put that in perspective, about 2% of adults are thought to experience a food allergy and 45% are estimated to have some kind of food intolerance.

The effects of a lactose intolerance occur because the body is deficient in the enzyme lactase, which breaks down lactose – a sugar found in milk. Because the body is struggling to digest the milk, you may experience symptoms, which could be confused with those of a milk intolerance. These could include:

  • Nausea
  • Bloating
  • Stomach cramps
  • Flatulence
  • Diarrhoea

A lactose intolerance cannot be detected through the use of a YorkTest food intolerance test and unlike a food intolerance, sufferers will have to endure it for their entire life. It cannot be outgrown, but it can be managed.

If you suspect that you have lactose intolerance, you should visit your GP. They will be able to perform testing to confirm a diagnosis and you may benefit from lactase enzyme supplements.

 YorkTest advise that you consult with your GP first if you are experiencing the types of symptoms mentioned in this blog post.
†YorkTest define Food Intolerance as a food-specific IgG reaction

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