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Lactose Intolerance

Making a Diagnosis

Lactose intolerance can be hard to diagnose based on symptoms alone. People sometimes think they suffer from lactose intolerance because they have the symptoms associated with lactose intolerance. However, they may not know that other conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome or a milk allergy in children, can cause similar symptoms.
In order to make a diagnosis, a doctor will ask a number of questions about a person's symptoms, perform a physical exam, and recommend certain tests. While a doctor can use lactose intolerance tests to make the diagnosis, he or she may first recommend eliminating cow's milk from the diet to see if the symptoms go away.
Lactose intolerance testing measures the absorption of lactose in the digestive system. Common tests used to measure this include:
  • Lactose tolerance test
  • Hydrogen breath test
  • Stool acidity test.

Treating Lactose Intolerance

Lactose intolerance is generally fairly easy to treat. For most people, lactose intolerance treatment involves modifying their diet. While no treatment can improve the body's ability to produce lactase, a carefully chosen diet, with calcium supplements (if the doctor or dietitian recommends them), is the key to reducing symptoms.
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Lactose Intolerance Information

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