A Daily Struggle with Lactose Intolerance


Sandra – I'm 21 years old and I was diagnosed as being lactose intolerant about a year ago. I stared seeing my doctor about 2 years ago. I was constantly in pain(gas, diarrhea and stomach aches). She diagnosed me with IBS(Irritable Bowel Syndrome). I did not like the fact that I was being diagnosed with something you cannot treat. I made my doctor send me for tests. I had stomach ultrasound and a pelvic ultrasound. My blood was tested and I was tested for Celiac Disease. Everything came back fine.  At one point the pain was so bad I went to the ER and after waiting 9 hours the doctor on hand told me to go home that there was nothing he could do …

My final test was to see if I was lactose intolerant. It was awful being tested. I couldn't eat for a few hours or drink beforehand. The test itself consisted of drinking a disgusting drink and taking my blood every half hour for 2 and a half hours. It didn't take long for my stomach to act up. The last hour I was running to the washroom. It took me 2 days to get it out of my system and feel better. Needless to say that the test showed I am lactose intolerant.

My doctor put me on a dairy free diet. No dairy products, no soy milk, no lactaid milk for one month. She didn't want supplements because she wanted me to get rid of the dairy. She wanted me to clear my system.

To this day I still have a struggle. I'm italian and so my favorite dishes all contain cheese. I take lactaid pills to help me digest but sometimes they don't work and I only use it for special occasions. I never enjoyed drinking milk so I'm loving soy milk. I enjoy the company called So Nice. The soy milk doesn't have that odd after taste. Going to restaurants is very hard. I don't go to chain restaurants because it's hard to find dairy-free meals. For example, there's a restaurant chain in Canada called Moxies and their tomato sauce has parmesean cheese in it. Who would have thought?

Sometimes I get distraught. I always ate dairy and to suddeny alter your diet is very hard. Not only am I lactose intolerant but I cannot eat beef because my body does not digest the vitamin B12 that you get from eating beef. As well, I cannot eat spicy food. I have a limited diet but everyone who knows me always makes the effort to alter their cooking or cook me something special.

My adivce to anyone who has lactose intolerance is to say that it is hard to cut dairy out. But there are lots of books, resources to help you out. Friends, family are there. The one thing I have picked up is that I now cook really well because I am constantly trying to create dairy-free recipes.

About Author

Alisa is the founder of GoDairyFree.org, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.

1 Comment

  1. Thank you for this article. It sounds very much like me…even down to the beef issues! I had my blood tested for lactose intolerance on Monday and am anxious to get that back. I even had diarrhea the next day too! Terrible! I don’t have regular diarrhea, it’s extremely painful with intestinal spasms. Not fun. I have been through all the tests and everything is apparently ‘normal’. I will try the Dairy Free diet to clear my system too if it comes back that I am Lactose Intolerant.
    Thanks again for the article.
    I’m sad to hear that you went through this too, but it’s comforting to know there is someone else that experiences these symptoms.

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