How to Deal with a Lactose Intolerance and Eczema

person holding hand up to say no to milk due to lactose intolerance

A lactose intolerance occurs when the body can’t break down or digest lactose. Lactose is a type of sugar found in milk and other dairy foods. Many people who are lactose intolerant also have eczema, as dairy is known to be a top eczema trigger.

In this post, explore everything you need to know about lactose intolerance and how it can affect the skin, including:

  • What is lactose intolerance?
  • What are the symptoms of lactose intolerance?
  • How to manage a lactose intolerance and eczema

Read on to learn more about lactose intolerance and what you can do about it.

All about Lactose

Lactose is a milk sugar found in the small intestine broken down by a digestive enzyme called lactase. Lactase breaks down the lactose in food so your body can absorb it. A person with lactose intolerance has a reduced ability to digest milk sugars. This is due to insufficient amounts of lactase.

What is a Lactose Intolerance?

A person with lactose intolerance will experience complications after consuming dairy because of difficulty digesting lactose. These can include bloating, gas, diarrhea, and cramps. Some people with lactose intolerance may be able to consume small amounts of dairy without problems. For example, you may be able to tolerate lactose in small amounts when you drink milk or eat dairy products like yogurt. But drinking milk or other dairy products can lead to stomach problems for others. It is not the same as having a food allergy to milk products or different dairy foods.

Lactose Intolerance Symptoms

A person who is lactose intolerant may experience the following symptoms:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Gurgling or rumbling stomach
  • Gas
  • Diarrhea

Who Develops a Lactose Intolerance

Children and adults alike can develop lactose intolerance. The condition often runs in families and occurs when a person’s body may make less of the lactase enzyme over time. Genes may also affect your gut sensitivity and the types of bacteria you have in your gut.

Premature babies may not be able to develop enough lactase at birth, which can lead to a temporary lactose intolerance that goes away with time. Babies who drink breast milk and formula-fed babies can both develop a milk allergy. In extremely rare cases, people are born unable to make any lactase at all.

The Connection Between Lactose Intolerance and Eczema

Diary is a common eczema trigger, with many people experiencing flare-ups after eating milk products. Because of this, many eczema sufferers choose to exclude dairy foods and maintain a lactose-free diet instead. However, as many processed foods contain lactose, it’s important to check nutrition food labels and ingredient lists on food. For example, lactose is often found in cereals, coffee creamers, butter cheese cream, salad dressings, lunch meats, and cake or cookie mixes.

Gut sensitivity is also one of the causes of lactose intolerance which can lead to eczema flare-ups. This means that thanks to your unique gut microbiome, you may process lactose differently from someone else’s. Your symptoms will tell you how much lactose you can tolerate.

How is Lactose Intolerance Diagnosed?

Your health provider will discuss your past health and family history to determine whether you have lactose intolerance. They may also give you a physical exam. To check for lactose intolerance, they may conduct a lactose tolerance test, hydrogen breath test, or stool acidity test.

How is Lactose Intolerance Treated?

While there is no treatment to help your body make more lactase, you can manage your symptoms by changing your diet. Avoiding dairy products entirely is often tricky, as this can lead to a calcium deficit. For example, choosing to drink milk while eating other foods can help reduce its effects. You can also try eating dairy products with naturally lower levels of lactose, such as hard cheeses and yogurt. Consuming lactose-free and lactose-reduced milk and milk products is also an option.


FROM: Eczema

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