Lactose intolerance is a medical condition in which the body cannot digest milk and dairy products. The reason for this is an intolerance to a sugar found in milk and dairy products called lactose. It mainly affects the gastrointestinal tract and can cause diarrhea, gas, and bloating after eating or drinking dairy products. Lactose intolerance is not the same as an allergy. Intolerance means non-allergic hypersensitivity. Although it is a common and seemingly harmless condition, it can cause a host of uncomfortable symptoms that affect your daily life.
A significant amount of people are either lactose intolerant or have some level of sensitivity to lactose. However, a lot of people do not know they have this issue, which is why it goes undiagnosed for many.
Why Get Tested?
Getting tested for lactose intolerance is beneficial for many reasons. First, lactose intolerance causes a host of uncomfortable symptoms that no one wants to experience – especially on a frequent basis. Individuals who are lactose intolerant experience diarrhea, bloating, gas, and abdominal cramps in as little as 30 minutes after eating or drinking foods with lactose. They may also experience nausea and vomiting.
For some people, symptoms do not start until a few hours later. Because of the delayed response, it can be difficult to pinpoint why you are feeling ill. There are a lot of gastroenterological conditions that can cause one or more of these symptoms. Because of this, it can be difficult to pinpoint what exactly is causing the problem. Getting tested for lactose intolerance can help you find answers.
Another reason why you should consider getting tested for lactose intolerance is that there are a variety of tests available. These tests are easy to take and can offer you quick results. The most effective tests for lactose intolerance include:
Lactose Tolerance Test
A lactose tolerance test checks your body’s reaction to lactose. Your doctor will ask you to drink a liquid that is high in lactose. Two hours after drinking the liquid, you will have a blood test to measure the amount in the bloodstream. If the glucose in your body did not spike, this may indicate that you are lactose intolerant because your body wasn’t able to digest and absorb the lactose-filled drink.
Hydrogen Breath Test
The hydrogen breath test can gauge your body’s reaction to lactose. You will drink a liquid with lactose and then your doctor will measure the amount of hydrogen in your breath at spaced out intervals. If you exhale more hydrogen than normal, this indicates you aren’t fully absorbing lactose.
Stool Acidity Test
The stool acidity test is for infants and children who can’t undergo either the lactose tolerance test or the hydrogen breath test. The child’s stool is collected and sent to a laboratory for testing to see if there is a significant amount of lactic acid within it. This can indicate if the child has a lactose intolerance.
To prepare for a lactose tolerance test, your doctor may ask you not to eat or drink for eight hours before the test and to restrict your exercise. You may also need to stop some medications to make sure the results are accurate. Talk to your doctor before undergoing any testing to ensure you prepare it correctly.
Lactose Intolerance Testing in Cleveland, Ohio
If you are interested in getting tested for lactose intolerance, the experts at Northshore Gastroenterology can help. Our dedicated team of board-certified physicians and nurse practitioners has more than 25 years of experience.
Call us at (440) 808-1212 and schedule an appointment with our friendly staff today. You can also request an appointment online.