Lactose intolerance questions

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by gcvmom, Oct 29, 2010.

  1. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    We are starting to suspect that difficult child 1's IBS issues the past few years may be due to lactose intolerance.

    Has anyone here gone through the hydrogen breath test that's used to diagnose lactose intolerance? Or was the diagnosis arrived at by a process of elimination?

    Has anyone heard of someone suddenly developing this problem as a teenager?

    Are you able to tolerate yogurt without issues?

    Thanks for the feedback!
  2. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    OK... I was never formally diagnosis'd with lactose intolerance but I can tell you... More than about half an ounce of milk and I'm bloated, gassy (the painful kind), and I burp a lot.

    Actually this sort-of appeared when I was about 15, so yes to that question. Lactaid works WONDERS. I don't have issues with yogurt, goat's milk, or hard cheeses. (American just grosses me out unless it's on a slab of ground beef, so I can't tell you there.)

    Does this help any?
  3. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Yes, it does, thanks.

    difficult child 1 woke up with diarrhea and cramping yesterday morning. He ended up staying home from school and he still feels crummy today. No fever. He told me that very late Wednesday night (like 2 or 3am) he had a bowl of ice cream and a big glass of milk with some cookies. And does stuff like that periodically and his IBS issues are periodic, so that's what got me wondering.

    But it also came to light today that he drank nearly a half gallon of apple cider Wednesday night, too! And apple juice has a lot of fructose and sorbitol which can cause similar IBS/lactose intolerance-type symptoms!

    I swear it's a flippin' detective game here half the time!!!
  4. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Oh my. Ice cream, milk, cookies and cider? Oooh. My belly would be screaming.

    They do have lactose-free milk but it's SUPER expensive. If you can get goat milk, do it... Cheaper and tastes better (in my opinion).
  5. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Most people become progressively more lactose intolerant as they get older. Our bodies are NOT designed to handle breast milk from cows. We don't normally have enough of the right things to break it down. My gastro doctor says that almost all of his IBS patients are lactose intolerant. He didn't do the breath test because he said it isn't as good a predictor as trying a big glass of milk and watching the symptoms after and then having another glass of milk but taking the appropriate amount of lactaid with it and watching the symptoms.

    My boys are odd. They don't handle milk well, but lactose isn't their problem. They have problems with the milk FAT. As a 1yo Wiz got so sick when we introduced milk that he was nearly hospitalized. Constant diarrhea, fussy, gassy, miserable. We sweitched to formula because the milk in it is broken down and he improved HUGELY. Not soy formula because he didn't tolerate that well either. Just regular baby formula. WIC paid for it for 2 years for him because otherwise he got really sick. thank you reacted the same way to milk, but he also got red cheeks and ears, and had respiritory problems. We used soy formula for him when he switched to formula, and then used tofutti and other substitutes for milk. Now he is okay with milk but strongly prefers soy milk.

    I have developed lactose intolerance pretty much like what your son described. As a teen one of my friends suddenly started having the reactions your difficult child has and she was diagnosis'd with lactose intolerance and IBS. The walmart brand of lactaid ultra works better for me than the name brand.

    Hopefully he can take lactaid at school if the meals include any sort of dairy. Do schools consider lactaid a drug, meaning he would have to go to the office? Back when I went to school we just behaved well and kept it in our purses or pockets, but I don't think that schools would like that now.
  6. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    If carrying lactaid is an issue, most sd's have a form that your doctor can sign to allow stuff like that.

    I know for instance one of Onyxx's friends was suspended for Tums.
  7. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    He's not usually a big milk drinker, so I don't know that we'd even bother with a Lactaid tablet at school. I told him to stay off ALL dairy until he feels better and then we'll conduct an experiment here at home on the weekend.

    It just really sucks that this could be yet one more problem he has with his GI system. But we can't have him continuing to be miserable and missing school so if this truly is the problem then we need to make the necessary changes and he needs to accept this. He was complaining about the prospect of having to avoid dairy and I pointed out that missing school because of this is unacceptable. But it tastes sooo good mom! Then I said that if he was an adult and missed two days of work because of a food choice he made, those are two days of pay he'd also miss -- is it worth two days of pay to eat this way? That was an analogy he could understand!
  8. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    My difficult child was diagnosed with lactose intolerance when she was fairly young - I think around 6/7 - via the hydrogen breath test with a pediatric gastroenterologist. After only 30 minutes they pulled us inside to talk. We met with a dietician who explained to us about foods that have dairy derivitives and what ingredients to watch for...when she said tuna I was very confused. Most of them have casien, which is a dairy derivitive, so you do have to watch out.

    Anyway, unlike what Susie said below, our difficult child has mostly outgrown her intolerance. When she was little she had HORRIFYING gastro problems from tremendous gas, IBS symptoms so actually having to run to the toilet, along with hives and eczema, bloating and belly aches. Of course, when they are little they love stuff like mac-n-cheese and that was difficult child's fave. She was never a big milk drinker and didn't enjoy cheese and crackers...but she loved Go-Gurt. We had to eliminate a lot of things from her diet. We bought lactose tabs for her to eat when eating dairy was unavoidable or if she simple wanted to eat ice cream. We tried the Lactain milk, but since she didn't drink much anyway, we stopped buying it. Over the years, her allergic reaction has decreased and she's gained some tolerance, which is what her nutritionist said would likely happen in her case, being diagnosed so young.

    She was recently diagnosed as being allergic to a whole array of fruits - mostly pitted fruits - and fruit is something she lived on when she was little. Now she's afraid to eat any fruits as going through anaphylaxis is not a fun time.

    Best of luck with your guy.
  9. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    I'm lactose intolerant, not too badly. I have to stick with fat-free milk (seems to make a difference in me) and if I keep it moderate and have other foods with it I'm mostly okay. There shouldn't be any issues with yogurts or hard cheeses, but soft cheeses can present a problem.
  10. SearchingForRainbows

    SearchingForRainbows Active Member

    easy child (quickly becoming a difficult child) was diagnosed with Celiac's Disease at the end of the last school year. After all her blood tests came back normal and she was still sick this September, her gastro doctor said she is probably lactose intolerant too.

    There is a type of lactose over the counter medication that you only have to take once/day and it works for 24 hours. (Don't know if I'm allowed to mention the brand here but if you're interested, send me a pm) However, if easy child is going to be eating lots of extra dairy one day, her gastro doctor said she still should take a fast acting pill too.

    So far, the once per day pill is working well for her. Hope your difficult child is feeling better soon! SFR
  11. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Just got off the phone with the pediatrician. He told us to take a strict 2-week break from all things dairy and then reintroduce the milk products and see what happens. So here we go! I'm just so dang tired of the merry-go-round. This kid's had nothing but gut problems since his Crohn's diagnosis in 5th grade! We got that under control only to have the IBS hit in middle school, and it continues to wreak havoc on his life. Where's that dang Easy button when I need it?
  12. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    Crohn's and IBS, ouch! So he's already on a highly restricted diet to begin with. I have some IBS issues, but the yogurt and being careful with how much fried food I eat covers a lot of it since so much you can't eat is stuff I won't eat anyway. Poor kid. *hugs*
  13. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    I'm lactose intolerant, as are Little easy child and the Tot Monster Twins. Symptoms are: intolerably smelly gas, severe cramping, diarrhea, vomiting. In that order, depending on how much dairy has been consumed. It's a bit like having a lower GI virus without the fever.

    I have noticed with myself and with Little easy child that we have both become more tolerant of dairy with age. I have also observed that if I cut dairy out of my diet entirely then I am MUCH more sensitive the next time I have something with dairy in it. Same for Little easy child. For the Tot-Monsters, I have not yet started experimenting as they're still just getting used to real food and I don't want to mess around too much. Baby Tyrantina is also sensitive to soy, so that's not a good substitute, especially as Tyrantina and Tyrannosaur often share and feed each other bits from their plates. Can't give it to one without the other also eating some.

    We also have trouble digesting fats, both dairy and non-dairy. Makes for a funny balancing act as far as diet. We have found some workable solutions, as follows:

    Milk: Lactose-free skim milk for me, Lactose-free 2% milk for the Tots and Little easy child. Milk is the most difficult type of dairy to digest, so avoiding the lactose in milk helps. And trying to get my Sensory Integration Disorder (SID) children to swallow pills, or even to eat the powder that comes out of the lactaid capsules, is a non-starter. I can use regular milk in tea, but not for breakfast cereal or hot chocolate (drinking a glass of cold milk gives me the heebie jeebies, so it's not an issue).
    Margarine: Olive-oil based margarine. No butter, no regular margarine. For some reason, this type of fat is easier to digest.
    Cheeses: light cream cheese (but not regular). I think this is related to the lower fat content as well. Mild cheddar, but not medium or old. Mozzarella, Gouda, Havarti. In small quantities only. About 1 cubic inch per day seems to be the limit. Or 2 tablespoons of the cream cheese
    Yogurt: Yoplait Source 0% fat yogurt. Lots of delicious flavours, and low fat. Astro makes a lactose-free yogurt, if you need to eliminate it entirely.
    Ice cream: There is a brand (can't remember the name off-hand) of lactose free ice cream. I tend to just limit the amount of ice cream, rather than going to the expense of getting the LF stuff. Sherbet and Sorbet are also good options, as they are low-dairy and no-dairy, respectively.

    Hope this helps,
  14. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    He might be not just lactose intolerant, but casein (milk protein) intolerant. i like your doctor's plan of eliminating it all and then reintroducing and seeing what happens.

    As you probably know, my now former difficult child had to give up milk to eliminate her GFGness. Maybe there will be positive results in that area for your difficult child, too.

    I gave up milk products when my kids did, and discovered it was causing some life-long digestive issues I had.

    As hard as it seems to give up these foods, it is nice to have an answer.
  15. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    There is some really good ice cream made with coconut milk. Maybe it can make it easier for your difficult child to go 2 weeks without milk. I get it at Whole Foods or even my regular grocery store.
  16. skeeter

    skeeter New Member

    My oldest is allergic to casein. We've known since he was 5 months old (and I tried to give him a bottle of cow milk based formula and he broke out in hives from head to toe). Over the years, when he would accidently eat something with milk, whey, casein, sodium caseinate, etc. he would do one of more of the following - hives, nausea, vomiting, hyperactivity, eczema, and as he got older, subcutaneous acne. If he's not had anything for a while, he sometimes can tolerate a small amount (I'm talking like a baked good or such) but he'll never be able to drink a glass of milk or eat ice cream.

    One trick among many I learned - ask if the deli meat is kosher. Many deli meats have casein as binders, but if it's kosher it cannot. Also make sure utensils are not "shared" (for instance he can't eat at those steak sandwich places that throw everything on the same grill).
  17. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Dairy is such a strange thing, at least in how our body tolerates it. Given his problems, it is likely that he will feel better off of all dairy whether he is lactose intolerant or not. If he IS lactose intolerant, it DOES NOT mean he has to avoid dairy forever. It means he has to take a lactose suplement with dairy. If he isn't lactose intolerant now, it is probable that he will be at some point in the future, and so will the rest of us. The supplements are tasteless and very portable, and apparently there is now even a long acting version, so there is no reason why dairy should be eliminated from his diet because this except for the 2 weeks the doctor recommended.

    Given the Crohns and IBS, dairy is NOT his friend anyway. Or it isn't to any of the other people I know who have either of them. If he can learn to take the enzyme pill regularly, it is quite likely that he will find that he feels DRAMATICALLY better.

    You analogy of losing 2 days pay is a good one, because that of course is what will happen when he is an adult. And if he ends up with an employer who calls all paid days off the same thing, these food choices could mean a MUCH shorter vacation. You may even think about putting some sort of financial incentive into his life so that if he makes decent food choices he gets an allowance based on days in school, and if he eats unwisely and is too unwell to go to school then he loses $$.

    I am NOT suggesting this as a way to punish your son, but instead as a way to get him to start seeing school as his job and to let him have some more "real world" consequences to his food choices. You would think that the pain and awful feelings would be enough to keep anyone from making those food choices, but either a food that is esp tempting or something at school he doesn't want to do/turn in/etc... could trigger unwise eating to get a postponement. With some financial incentive he might be more likely to resist those food indulgences.

    Esp if he is expected to pay for things like driver's ed, video games/tv time, or whatever motivates him and isn't a huge hassle for you.
  18. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Not to confuse things, but I have IBS that started in my teens, not lactose intolerance, and if I drank a half gallon of apple cider, I'd have terrible IBS symptoms (including cramps and diarrhea that would last the entire next day). So that does muddy the waters somewhat. I really can't eat or drink anything related to fruits, veggies or a lot of roughage. Those sorts of things irritate my system a lot!

    I do think the elimination diet will tell you a great deal, but if things don't clear up, you may very well be looking at IBS irritated by that cider.
  19. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I developed lactose intollerance around the age of 30. It began with cream in my coffee and ice cream and progressed to all other milk products including shellfish. Within 20 minutes of eating something with lactose or milk products and I am in big trouble. Lactaid pills do not work for me, they delay the problem a short time but that's all. I was recently diagnosed with IBS when I had my colonoscopy a few months ago. The gastro doctor said it usually goes alog with lactose intollerance. I cannot tolerate yogurt. The gastr doctor said I should be able to. So I have no idea what I really have.

    My easy child had the hydrogen breath test about ten years ago. It was not conclusive, although give her a glass of milk or bowl of ice cream and she is bloated and has cramps and needs to find a bathroom quickly. They said she may have borderline intollerance that just doesn't show up on the test or she may have a sensitivity. In either case the evidence is pretty clear to us.

  20. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    This kid just drives me nuts. He had MORE ice cream and MORE milk on Saturday :hammer: And of course, he's still going to the bathroom 6 or more times a day.

    I may just go buy the lactaid enzyme tablets and start having him take them regularly, because at this rate, we will never get a clear run of two weeks without dairy. What a joke!