Lactose Intolerant?

By Heather Legg

My friend’s daughter has been complaining a lot of of stomach aches; she calls it the “spiky kind.” My friend spoke to the doctor and guess what, he said take her off of all dairy for a week or so, keep a diary and see how she does. He feels it’s probably lactose intolerance.

But it just started, my friend said. It’s been going on about two or three weeks and it’s usually around the same time of day – morning and dinner time. Now her daughter doesn’t drink much milk and doesn’t really like cheese. That makes me think of one of two things – she doesn’t like the dairy because her body doesn’t like it and knows what’s best, or it’s not intolerance because she doesn’t really get dairy. But, I know, all it takes is the tiniest bit too cause a reaction.

The other thing, it’s not all the time. Sometimes she can have a whole glass of milk and it doesn’t bother her. Other times she misses school due to these stomach aches. She does exhibit some of the classic intolerance symptoms as well – sometimes she shows signs of being bloated and gassy, sometimes she’s constipated and other times it’s diarrhea. It will be interesting to see if while she is off of the dairy, she still has stomach aches.

Her mom thinks another factor may be sugar. When she has a lot of sugar, like candy or sugary drinks, she gets stomach aches. She’s really good about limiting it and when she does have sugar, her mom makes sure she gets a lot of healthy stuff, too , like whole grains and fruit and veggies.

It’s so difficult diagnosing things like this. Stomach aches can have a million factors attached to them – stress, sugar, lactose, nerves, excitement, being tired, environmental allergies – it’s tough to pinpoint which one it is. And sometimes it’s a combination!

The doctor told her in her diary to write down everything she eats all day, and record how she feels every day, too. That way she can see any symptoms and complaints, as well as lack there of.

My friend worried a little when he said take her off of dairy. How would she get her calcium? Would she have to go to soy or rice milk? But he told her to just get the lactose free and start from there. At least that part makes it a lot easier.

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