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A bad relationship with food isn’t uncommon if you’re suffering from unknown food intolerance. It makes sense if the food we’re putting into our body to fuel it is being received badly, then it’s likely you’ll associate that bad reception (or, better put, symptoms) with food and be reluctant to try anything new or even find yourself reluctant come lunchtime.

One of the most common food intolerances around the UK, Lactose intolerance isn’t easy to diagnose. But diagnosis is critical in turning food back from foe to friend.

 

Symptoms of lactose intolerance

Do you suspect that you’re living with Lactose intolerance? It’s not as unusual as you’d think (it’s actually becoming more common among women). Like a lot of food intolerances, symptoms can range from mild to severe and are easily confused with other issues such as stress, sickness or even fatigue. Here are the most common symptoms of lactose intolerance to watch for.

• Grumbling stomach: If your stomach grumbles or is seemingly trying to start up a conversation with you after eating lactose-rich foods, lactose intolerance might be the cause. Don’t confuse this with a growling stomach when you are hungry. We’re looking at a talking or “complaining” stomach after eating lactose foods.

• Bloating and cramps: Excessive bloating after eating dairy is another sign. Cramps and aching often accompany the bloating in your stomach. The bloating might be severe enough to show through your clothes. Your stomach might feel round and hard, too.

• Flatulence: Passing gas – especially the smelly kind – is a sign that you’re dealing with lactose intolerance. Whether in small amounts here and there or long-term and seemingly constant, it’s often up there with the most unpleasant symptoms that you’ll experience. The passing of the gas can often help alleviate the stomach-ache, however, so there’s a positive.

• Feeling ill: Feeling rough after eating lactose foods is another indicator that is often ignored or credited to other issues. It could manifest as a headache, feeling fuzzy or foggy. It could be feeling exhausted or even sore. If you’re regularly down and out after eating a lactose-rich meal, it’s something to consider.

 

There are other symptoms of lactose intolerance, and some people will find that only certain lactose foods trigger them, while others don’t. The goal is to figure out what’s causing your symptoms and determine if you have lactose intolerance, or whether it’s a different issue altogether.

Keep in mind that just because you have lactose intolerance, it doesn’t mean your food-related life has to drastically change. You just need to be more aware of foods that might contain lactose, how much of it they contain, and which kinds set off a reaction with your body. Then you can manage the symptoms and still enjoy most of your favourite foods. Lactose intolerance isn’t a banishment from ice cream and cheesecake. It’s all about moderation and management.