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Sneaky warning signs you may have health condition millions suffer from and not realise


Some health conditions are easier to diagnose than others. Specific, rare symptoms can help narrow down what someone is suffering from.

But in other cases, symptoms can be applicable to many different health problems, making it difficult to correctly diagnose.

It could mean someone is living with a condition for years without even realising.

Sometimes, a condition might present with just very subtle signs, again making it tricky to spot.

Lactose intolerance is one such condition that affects millions of people around the world.

It can cause uncomfortable symptoms after you eat dairy products, but these can be mild.

Many people have difficulty digesting lactose, but not everyone experiences noticeable symptoms from it, Teesside Live reports.

You might suspect you’re lactose intolerant if you notice a pattern of common symptoms after you eat dairy products.

However, many people with the deficiency can tolerate some lactose which might make ruling it a problem difficult.

Signs and symptoms of lactose intolerance

According to the NHS, symptoms of lactose intolerance can start a few minutes, or a few hours, after having food or drink containing lactose.

The common symptoms include:

  • Tummy pain or discomfort
  • Bloating
  • Passing wind
  • Diarrhoea or constipation
  • Feeling sick or being sick.

Beyond the more obvious signs, you may also have longer-lasting symptoms, including:

These can all point towards something not being quite right and potentially lead to discovering an intolerance.

Studies also indicate that for certain individuals, dairy products can exacerbate or cause acne issues – however, it’s important to remember that everyone’s skin reacts differently.

What causes lactose intolerance?

The most common cause of lactose intolerance is when the body does not make enough of an enzyme called lactase, which helps you digest lactose.

Lactose intolerance can start at any age – and you could develop it later in life.

However, many cases first develop in people aged 20 to 40, although babies and young children can also be affected.

There’s no cure for lactose intolerance, but limiting your intake of food and drink containing lactose usually helps to control the symptoms.

What foods trigger lactose intolerance symptoms?

Lactose is found in foods containing animal milk (dairy products) – such as milk from cows, goats and sheep.

Dairy products include food like milk, butter, cheese, cream, yoghurt and ice cream.

Many processed foods can also contain lactose, such as cereals, baked goods, sauces and salad dressings.

It is important to note that a lactose intolerance isn’t the same as a milk or dairy allergy.

Food allergies are caused by your immune system reacting to a certain type of food. This causes symptoms such as a rash, wheezing and itching.

When to see a doctor

You should reach out and book to see your GP once you notice the symptoms of lactose intolerance and if:

  • Your symptoms keep coming back and often happen after eating
  • You’ve noticed changes in your poo that are not usual for you, such as looser poo, pooing more often, or constipation for three weeks
  • You’ve have blood in your poo for three weeks
  • You’ve had tummy bloating and discomfort for three weeks
  • You’ve been losing weight.

If your GP thinks you have lactose intolerance, you may be asked to follow a lactose elimination diet – where you stop eating foods containing lactose to see if your symptoms improve.

They could conduct blood tests or perform a hydrogen breath test – where hydrogen gas in your breath is measured to find out how well you digest lactose.

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