Digestive System Home > Lactose Intolerance Symptoms

People can experience a wide range of lactose intolerance symptoms, from mild to severe, depending on the amount of lactose a person can tolerate, as well as other factors. Common symptoms include bloating, gas, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. However, these symptoms are not always sure signs of lactose intolerance.

An Introduction to Lactose Intolerance Symptoms and Signs

The severity of symptoms of lactose intolerance depends on many factors, including the amount of lactose (milk sugar) a person can tolerate and the person's age, ethnicity, and digestion rate, among other things.

Common Symptoms of Lactose Intolerance

People who do not have enough lactase (an enzyme that breaks down lactose) to digest the amount of lactose they consume may feel quite uncomfortable when they digest milk products. Common lactose intolerance symptoms, which range from mild to severe, include:
  • Nausea
  • Cramps
  • Abdominal (stomach) pain
  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Diarrhea
  • Odd-smelling stool
  • Floating stool.
Lactose intolerance symptoms begin about 30 minutes to 2 hours after eating or drinking foods containing lactose. Symptoms are usually worse in someone with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Final Thoughts on Lactose Intolerance Symptoms

The possible symptoms of lactose intolerance discussed in this article are not always sure signs of the condition. Other common health problems, such as irritable bowel syndrome, milk allergies in children, or the stomach flu, can also cause these symptoms. Anyone with these possible symptoms should see a doctor so that the problem can be diagnosed and treated.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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