Could I be lactose intolerant?

Print Friendly

If you feel uncomfortable after eating, there’s a chance that you could be lactose intolerant. Have you noticed that your symptoms are more severe when you’ve had milk, cheese or cream?

Do you find that your discomfort normally starts within half an hour to two hours after eating? If the answers are yes, it might be worth finding out whether you’re sensitive to lactose.

Understanding lactose intolerance

People who are lactose intolerant are unable to break down the sugar (lactose) that is found in dairy products. Because the small intestine finds it difficult to digest these sugars, they can’t be properly absorbed into the bloodstream.

A lot of the foods we eat and drink today have dairy products – and therefore lactose – in them. Some are easy to spot, like milk, ice cream and cheese, while others are trickier. Many packaged treats and meals have lactose products in them, meaning you may not realise that you’re eating them. If you think you may have a problem with lactose, keep a food diary to pinpoint the times you feel unwell and be sure to check the labels of everything you eat.

What it means to be intolerant

Being intolerant to lactose is not the same as suffering an allergy to it. Allergies can often be severe and life threatening and are more often immediately typified by itching around the mouth or breaking out in hives. An intolerance, on the other hand, normally manifests as abdominal pain and discomfort after ingesting products with lactose in them.

There are also different degrees of intolerance, so what may be a very mild discomfort for one person may be more intense for another. Some people may also have a partial intolerance, which means they can eat and drink a certain amount of lactose-based products without feeling ill but will develop symptoms if they exceed this amount.

Testing for lactose intolerance

If you keep a food diary, you’re likely to be able to see a correlation between what you eat and how you feel. However, you can also visit your doctor and have blood tests after fasting and ingesting lactose to determine whether you’re intolerant. You may also be able to have a hydrogen breath test, which measures the hydrogen in your exhalations and can tell when you’re not able to digest lactose.

Have yourself tested and watch your diet to see if you’re more comfortable and feel better when you avoid dairy products for a happier, healthier you.


All content on is provided for general information only, and should not be treated at all as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. Silversurfers will not be responsible or liable for any diagnosis made by a user based on the content on and we are also not liable for the content of any external websites or links from or to Silversurfers to any other websites. Please always consult your own doctor if you’re in any way concerned about any aspect of your health.

The following two tabs change content below.

Silversurfers Features Editor

Hello there! I’m Rachel and I’m the Features Editor for Silversurfers. I work behind the scenes to bring interesting, informative and entertaining subject matter to the Silversurfers community. I hope you enjoy the features we have shared with you. Please feel free to comment below and share your thoughts with us, we love to hear from you!

Latest posts by Silversurfers Features Editor (see all)

Not a member?

Join the silversurfers community today! It's free, easy to do, and is packed full of features and amazing offers!

Join the community!
Click here if you have forgotten your password

Community Terms & Conditions

Content standards

These content standards apply to any and all material which you contribute to our site (contributions), and to any interactive services associated with it.

You must comply with the spirit of the following standards as well as the letter. The standards apply to each part of any contribution as well as to its whole.

Contributions must:

be accurate (where they state facts); be genuinely held (where they state opinions); and comply with applicable law in the UK and in any country from which they are posted.

Contributions must not:

contain any material which is defamatory of any person; or contain any material which is obscene, offensive, hateful or inflammatory; or promote sexually explicit material; or promote violence; promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age; or infringe any copyright, database right or trade mark of any other person; or be likely to deceive any person; or be made in breach of any legal duty owed to a third party, such as a contractual duty or a duty of confidence; or promote any illegal activity; or be threatening, abuse or invade another’s privacy, or cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety; or be likely to harass, upset, embarrass, alarm or annoy any other person; or be used to impersonate any person, or to misrepresent your identity or affiliation with any person; or give the impression that they emanate from us, if this is not the case; or advocate, promote or assist any unlawful act such as (by way of example only) copyright infringement or computer misuse.

Nurturing a safe environment

Our Silversurfers community is designed to foster friendships, based on trust, honesty, integrity and loyalty and is underpinned by these values.

We don't tolerate swearing, and reserve the right to remove any posts which we feel may offend others... let's keep it friendly!

More Wellbeing

Are you affected by SAD? Winter Night And Old Lane
It's normal to feel a little bit blue when winter rolls around. Short days, long nights, cold...
Dealing with dry skin this winter Skincare
Skin is the body's largest organ, the protective outer layering that acts as a barrier from the...
Strange home remedies CHIANGMAI THAILAND -JULY 22 2016: Product shot of Listerine Original Antiseptic Mouthwash. In thailand sale and made from Johnson & Johnson Thailand.
In times of pain and discomfort, painkillers and ointments are often the go-to option for most...
Small acts of self care that can make a big difference Woman meditating at the sea with tea cup
Self care is a common theme we regularly see promoted in the media - but what does it mean, how...
Looking after your mental health Sad Mature Woman Suffering From Agoraphobia Looking Out Of Window
Good mental health is as important to your wellbeing as physical health, yet is rarely treated...
Healthy habits for women over 50 Senior Woman In Fitness Clothing Stretching On Beach
Each stage of life brings with it a new set of opportunities and challenges, and turning 50 is no...
Beat Stress for Men's Health Week Overworked, depressed and exhausted businessman at his desk with a pile of work or concept for frustration, stress and writers block
This week is Men's Health Week, a national initiative that aims to help increase awareness about...
Incontinence - It’s No Laughing Matter Lifestyle image
The sudden desperate urge to go to the toilet when away from home is something many people face...
How and why we should begin breaking barriers for older generations breakingbarrierssilversurfers
When do we stop growing and start aging? Is it at 21, 30, 50? When we reach middle age and become...
Brace yourself for allergy season Young man in yellow canola field blowing his nose and suffering
Spring and summer are the seasons everyone looks forward to most – apart from allergy sufferers...
Incorporating mindfulness into the everyday Woman meditating at the sea with tea cup
By now you’ve probably heard about the benefits of mindfulness and meditation touted in the news...
Tackling cold sores Lips affected by herpes, shown red.
From the second you feel that familiar tingle on your lips and you know a cold sore is soon to...