Why you may feel bloated or get diarrhoea after consuming milk

This is why you may feel bloated or get diarrhoea after consuming milk

Lactose intolerance is a condition that causes people to experience problems after consuming dairy products. Here is what you need to know about it. 

A man holds a glass of milk
A man holds a glass of milk/ iStock

Lactose intolerance is the inability to break down a type of natural sugar called lactose, which is commonly found in dairy products. The condition is caused by a lack of lactase in the body.

Only in rare cases are children born with lactose intolerance. In other cases, it occurs in babies born prematurely because lactase production in babies begins after at least 34 weeks. 

Most people develop lactose intolerance after a period of time as they age because their bodies produce less lactase.

People who are lactose intolerant will experience symptoms such as bloating, gas, nausea, abdominal cramps, and diarrhoea minutes or hours after consuming dairy products such as milk or yoghurt. 

According to Cleveland Clinic, 68% of the world population have some degree of lactose intolerance. 

To diagnose if a person is suffering from lactose intolerance, there are several tests that will be performed. These will include a lactose intolerance test, hydrogen breath test, or stool acidity test. 

READ: Should women be able to sell their breastmilk?


Lactose intolerance can be easily treated through avoiding foods that contain lactose. It is not only milk or dairy products that have lactose. It is important to read food labels because foods such as margarine, salad dressings, sauces, dry breakfast cereals, baking mixes, and many instant soups contain milk and lactose. 

In some instances, your body might be able to tolerate a small portion of lactose. For instance, consuming half a glass of milk might not cause some people who are lactose intolerant to experience symptoms. 

Another treatment includes an over-the-counter lactase enzyme which can be taken before consuming dairy products. The enzyme is available in capsule, pill, drops, or chewable form. 

READ: Three natural ways to increase your breast milk production

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