Tests to diagnose lactose intolerance

lactose intolerance

The tests to diagnose lactose intolerance They evaluate the digestive capacity of the intestine regarding lactose, a sugar present in milk and dairy products. It is carried out when there are signs of poor digestion and resulting discomfort, including flatulence, abdominal pain, cramps and/or diarrhea.

In this article we are going to tell you what it is and what you should do to take tests to diagnose lactose intolerance.

What are the tests to diagnose lactose intolerance?

milk makes him feel bad

There are two different methods to test for lactose intolerance: the first involves a blood test that measures glucose levels before and after consuming a lactose-containing preparation, while the second method is the hydrogen breath test. During the hydrogen breath test, the patient is instructed to breathe into sealed bags before and after consuming a lactose preparation, with specific intervals between each test.

Throughout this process, any discomfort or physical reaction, such as increased abdominal volume or pain, is closely monitored. Depending on the results obtained during each phase, the test may be extended for additional hours. Finally, a comprehensive diagnosis is performed by analyzing the hydrogen levels in the breath bags or containers.

What is the reason for this test?

To determine if a patient has difficulty digesting lactose, a common sugar found in many dairy products, a lactose intolerance test is performed. If lactose malabsorption is detected, it is essential to continue the recommendations provided by specialists in Allergology and/or the digestive system. It is also necessary to follow a personalized diet that excludes products containing lactose.

Preparing for the lactose intolerance test involves certain preparations. Prior to the exam, the specialist will provide a series of preparation guidelines. Within these commonly suggested instructions, it is recommended that the individual refrain from consuming any food and refrain from physical activity for 8 hours prior to the test.

What does it feel like during an exam?

Tests to diagnose lactose intolerance

The level of discomfort experienced during the procedure may vary depending on the specific method used. In the case of the hydrogen breath test, people should not expect to experience any discomfort, as It is a non-invasive test that is performed by analyzing your breath.

On the other hand, when opting for a blood test, people may experience a slight feeling of uneasiness during the insertion of the needle for sample collection. Afterwards, the patient may feel a sensation of lightheadedness and throbbing discomfort.

While having blood drawn may cause minor discomfort, such as dizziness, fainting, bruising, or a stinging sensation, the test itself does not pose any substantial risk. The importance of abnormal results must be taken into account.

The presence of abnormal lactose intolerance test results may suggest lactose intolerance. In such cases, a second glucose tolerance test is recommended to eliminate the possibility of problems related to the absorption of lactose in the body.

If the glucose level increases less than 20 mg/dL (1,1 mmol/L) within the 2-hour period after consuming the lactose solution, The blood test is classified as abnormal.


intolerance test

By experiencing different symptoms, it is possible to anticipate how your body will react to foods containing lactose and determine how much you can consume without any discomfort. Most people They do not experience lactose intolerance so extreme that they must eliminate dairy products completely of your diet or exercise caution when consuming lactose-free options or medications. Make sure you consistently follow a healthy eating regimen.

Eliminating dairy from your diet does not equate to a calcium deficiency. There are numerous alternative sources of calcium available in various foods, including but not limited to:

  • Some examples of foods rich in calcium include broccoli and leafy green vegetables, as well as calcium-fortified products such as cereals and juices. Additionally, canned salmon or sardines and milk substitutes such as soy and rice milk are also good sources of calcium.
  • Among the various options available, You can consider including almonds, Brazil nuts and dried beans as part of the diet.
  • Additionally, it is essential to ensure adequate intake of vitamin D, which can be obtained from fortified milk. Vitamin D is also present in eggs, liver and yogurt, while exposing the body to sunlight stimulates the production of this essential nutrient.

A significant number of adults include dairy products in their diet They are unable to obtain sufficient amounts of vitamin D. It is advisable to seek guidance from a medical professional on the consumption of vitamin D and calcium supplements to resolve any questions. Additionally, it may be beneficial to reduce your intake of dairy products.

Many people who experience lactose intolerance can consume certain dairy products without experiencing any symptoms. You may find that low-fat dairy products, such as skim milk, are more tolerable compared to full-fat dairy products. Additionally, it is possible to improve tolerance to dairy products by gradually incorporating them into the diet.

Relieve symptoms

To relieve the symptoms of lactose intolerance, there are several dietary adjustments you can make. Opt for smaller portions of dairy products and consume milk in small increments, limiting yourself to no more than 118 milliliters at a time. By reducing the serving size, you can minimize the likelihood of experiencing gastrointestinal discomfort.

To relieve the symptoms of lactose intolerance, it is recommended to consume milk during meals and not alone. Combining milk with other foods slows down the digestive process, which can help alleviate any discomfort caused by lactose intolerance.

It is important to note that not all dairy products contain the same amount of lactose. Let's take hard cheeses, such as Swiss or cheddar, as an example. These options They contain trace amounts of lactose and are generally well tolerated without causing any discomfort.

Lactose is more abundant in ice cream, although the high fat content of ice cream may allow it to be consumed without experiencing any adverse effects. Cultured dairy products, such as yogurt, may be well tolerated due to the presence of bacteria in the fermentation process that naturally produce the enzyme responsible for lactose digestion.

I hope that with this information you can learn more about what the tests are like to diagnose lactose intolerance.