What Are the Dairy Intolerance Symptoms?

Intolerance to dairy foods can lead to a number of unpleasant and even dangerous consequences. Having dairy intolerance means that one has to closely monitor the types of food one eats. There are certain symptoms that can indicate the existence of dairy intolerance in your body system, but in order to be sure, you should get diagnostic tests administered by your health-care provider. Broadly speaking, dairy intolerance may be due to either the protein component not suiting the body, or the milk sugar–lactose–not agreeing with the body. This article will look at both instances.

What Are the Symptoms of Dairy Intolerance?

Dairy intolerance leads to a number of symptoms which are different from the symptoms of a milk allergy. And the intolerance does not involve immune system. Dairy intolerance symptoms include lactose intolerance and dairy protein intolerance symptoms. When people are lactose intolerant, they are unable to digest the milk sugar–that is, their bodies cannot break down lactose into components necessary for the digestive process to occur. This is usually due to a deficiency of lactase (an enzyme in the small intestine). The protein responsible for dairy protein intolerance is casein and whey proteins. And the symptoms of this intolerance are not instantaneous.

Lactose Intolerance

Teens or Adults

For teens or adults, symptoms can range from mild to severe and usually begin around 30 minutes to 2 hours after consuming milk or milk products. Some people may become lactose intolerant when getting older. Adult lactose intolerance usually occurs in the teen years and continues as long as the small intestine does not produce lactase.

 Symptoms may include the following:

  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Pain orcrampsin the lower abdomen
  • Gurgling or rumbling sounds in the lower abdomen
  • Diarrhea or loose stools. In some cases, the stools can be foamy.
  • Vomiting

Many people experience these common symptoms. However, the frequency of occurrence of these symptoms indicates whether or not you are lactose intolerant. For example, if you feel sick once or twice after having milk, it is not very likely that you are lactose intolerant. But you may be lactose intolerant if you feel sick every time after drinking milk or having any dairy product. This is an important rule to tell dairy intolerance symptoms.


In rare cases, newborns can be lactose-intolerant. Symptoms of lactose intolerance in newborns include severe foamy diarrhea, weaknessand irritability,diaper rash,dehydration, vomiting, and slowweightgain.

Dairy Protein Intolerance

Dairy or milk protein intolerance usually has its onset in infancy. It is most common in young children. Symptoms are usually not immediate and can be delayed from a few hours to days after taking milk. Symptoms for babies include:

  • Rashes including eczema and hives
  • Chronic nasal congestion
  • Recurrent ear or sinus infections
  • Colic
  • Upset stomach
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • Irritability
  • Poor sleep
  • Chronic cough

At times, dairy protein intolerance goes undiagnosed initially and is discovered in later years. For children, symptoms of dairy protein intolerance include:

  • Recurrent ear or sinus infections
  • Picky about foods
  • Chronic constipation

A few adults may also have dairy protein intolerance and it usually dates back to their childhood and just never disappears. In such cases, when adults often add back milk and dairy to their diet, symptoms of dairy protein intolerance may be triggered.

How to Diagnose Dairy Intolerance

Now you have got to know the dairy intolerance symptoms, but dairy intolerance should be diagnosed by professional physicians.

Lactose Intolerance

  1. Hydrogen Breath Test

You will have to blow up a bag similar to a balloon. This sample of your breath will be tested for the amount of hydrogen measured in parts per million. Next you will be given a lactose solution to drink. Then your breath will be tested every 15 minutes for a few hours to see if there is a change in hydrogen levels. If your breath contains more than 220 ppm of hydrogen above your baseline, you are likely to be lactose intolerant.

  1. Lactose Tolerance Test

You will drink a lactose solution and a blood sample will be taken to test your glucose levels. If you are lactose intolerant, your body will be unable to breakdown the lactose from the drink into glucose. In this case, your blood sugar levels will either rise gradually or not at all.

  1. Milk Tolerance Test

You will be asked to drink a 500ml glass of milk after which your blood sugar levels will be tested. If you’re lactose intolerant, your blood sugar levels will not rise after drinking the milk.

  1. Small Bowel Biopsy

Using an endoscope, a sample is obtained of your small intestinal lining. This sample will be tested to see the level of lactase it contains. A small amount of lactase indicates that you are likely to be lactose intolerant. This procedure will be carried out under local anesthesia so you will not feel any pain.

Dairy Protein Intolerance

Unlike tests for lactose intolerance, there are no specific tests for determining dairy protein intolerance in humans. Usually children who test negative for milk allergy tests may have milk protein intolerance.

Other tests include the testing of blood samples. People with dairy protein intolerance will most likely have chronic anemia. Stool studies for such people will also show blood (visible or invisible) in the stool. In very rare and extreme cases, there may be need for an endoscopy to determine the presence of dairy protein intolerance.

How to Treat Dairy Intolerance

Beyond the dairy intolerance symptoms and diagnosis tests, the treatment will also be illustrated.

Lactose Intolerance

  1. Limit Dairy Products

You can limit the amount of dairy you consume through the following ways:

  • ŸChoose smaller servings of dairy. The serving size less than 4 ounces will be less likely to cause gastrointestinal problems.
  • ŸDrink milk during mealtimes. This tends to slow down the digestive process and reduce symptoms of lactose intolerance.
  • Try an assortment of dairy products. Swiss and cheddar cheese contain small amount of lactose. Cultured milk products such as yogurt contain enzymes that break down lactose.
  • ŸBuy lactase enzyme tablets or drops.You can them to help you digest dairy products. Take these before a meal or snack or add drops to your milk.
  1. Alternative Medicine

Probiotics can help your body to digest lactose. They are available as supplements and also as active cultures in some yogurts. They are generally considered safe and are worth a try if other methods don’t work.

  1. Maintain Good Nutrition

When you consume less dairy products because of the intolerance, you may meet calcium deficiency. So you should increase your intake of calcium rich foods, which include:

  • Spinach and broccoli
  • Oranges
  • Rhubarb
  • Canned salmon
  • Pinto beans
  • Milk substitutes like soy and rice milk
  • Calcium fortified products including breads and juices

Ensure that you get enough vitamin D, usually contained in fortified milk,eggs, yogurt and livers are good sources of vitamin D.

Dairy Protein Intolerance

For dairy protein intolerance, the only known treatment is to avoid the dairy protein in question. Depending on the level of intolerance as well as that of the symptoms, it is usually recommended that cow’s milk should be eliminated entirely from the diet. Cow’s milk products, in this case, include cheese, butter, sour cream, yogurt, pudding, ice cream, and more. Make sure you read the labels on all edible products before buying them. Generally, 80% of kids can outgrow it by age 3. Remember to visit your doctor periodically to see whether your kid is dairy protein intolerant.

Current time: 07/06/2022 03:52:48 pm (America/New_York) Memory usage: 3370.2KB