Are you one of the many Americans who experience problems after consuming milk and cheese? You could be lactose intolerant. Lactose intolerance is common and is defined as the inability to break down lactose, the sugar found in dairy.
Only testing confirms that you are in fact, lactose intolerant. Lactose intolerance testing may be necessary if your symptoms are bothersome or severe, or if there is something in your medical history that may have caused you to become intolerant to lactose-containing products.
Let’s explore the different types of lactose intolerance tests, when they are necessary, and where you can go to have it done.
Signs of Lactose Intolerance
Before we dive into lactose intolerance tests, it’s important to identify the signs of lactose intolerance, which may be different for each person.
The most common signs include:
- Stomach rumbling
- Abdominal pain
- Nausea and vomiting
The symptoms of lactose intolerance are caused by undigested lactose in the large intestine. At times, the symptoms may appear days after consuming dairy, once the lactose travels through the large intestine.
What Are the Different Types of Lactose Intolerance Tests?
There are two most commonly used methods to test for lactose intolerance in adults. One is through the hydrogen breath test. During this test, a liquid with high levels of lactose is consumed, and the amount of hydrogen in the breath is measured at regular intervals. If there is an excessive amount of hydrogen detected in the breath, it suggests that the individual is not fully digesting and absorbing lactose.
Another method to assess lactose intolerance is the glucose blood test. In this test, two hours after consuming a liquid with high lactose content, blood tests are conducted to measure the level of glucose in the bloodstream. If the glucose level does not increase, it indicates that the body is not properly digesting and absorbing the lactose from the drink.
Why is Lactose Intolerance Testing Necessary?
Knowledge is important when it comes to your health. It is useful to know what is causing your symptoms and the method in which it should be addressed.
Testing is important for a personalized treatment plan and to rule out other conditions, such as food sensitivities or underlying medical conditions like irritable bowel syndrome and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. Damage to the small intestine from treatments such as radiation therapy and small bowel resection can also cause lactose intolerance.
Where Can I Get Lactose Intolerance Testing?
Lactose intolerance tests can be done at a gastroenterologist’s clinic. A gastroenterologist specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of digestive conditions such as lactose intolerance. They also have expertise in treating other possible underlying conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome and celiac disease.
Once you’ve been diagnosed with lactose intolerance, you can work with your doctor to create a plan to manage your symptoms and maintain a healthy, well-balanced, and nutritious diet.
Lactose Intolerance Testing in Westlake and Brooklyn, Ohio
At North Shore Gastroenterology, we offer lactose intolerance testing as one of our in-office procedures. We use the hydrogen breath test, which can detect undigested lactose and the presence of bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine. Our friendly gastroenterology team will help you prepare for this test to ensure accurate results.