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Why can't I drink milk anymore?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

I have never had a problem with milk (though my mom did).  I am 41 and had my second child when I was 39.  I never was a big milk drinker, but after I had DS2, I have very marked tummy/bathroom problems if I drink even a couple of ounces.  Not to be gross, but I get gas, bloating, and have a couple of trips to the bathroom in a day instead of just one.  Is this lactose intolerance, or an allergy to milk protein?  Is there a difference?


And, why?  What gives?

post #2 of 6

There is a difference: milk protein is casein.  Lactose is the milk sugar.


I wish I could remember where I got this info, but apparently most humans become milk intolerant as they age.  I don't know if it's lactose or casein, though.  And I don't now why, but I suspect that we run out of the enzyme needed to break it down.


Then again, each pregnancy changes your body--and your body may have changed in this way due to the pregnancy.  Hard to tell.


You could remove it for 2 weeks and if you feel okay, add back in lactose-free milk.  We've been dairy-free for 7 years and after the first two months, I (the former serious milk-a-holic) didn't miss it--which stunned everyone including myself.  redface.gif  And you might not have a problem with fermented milk products (since they're broken down) or raw milk if that's legal where you are (since the enzymes have not been pasteurized out of it and therefore break it down more).

post #3 of 6

I was guessing pregnancy as well.  My allergy symptoms to some foods (peanuts) increased after my second daughter.  While I can't say definitely which it is for you, I would guess lactose intolerance.  At least that's where I would start.  Some LI folks can't tolerate any dairy at all, so just because you can't tolerate yogurt doesn't mean it's a dairy allergy instead.  


BTW, I am "mildly lactose intolerant" (by which I mean the symptoms are not so bad if I stick with yogurt and severely limit plain milk products) and raw milk of any kind gives me excruciating GI pain.  Just so you know that it's not the "wonder milk" for everybody!


Let's see.... what can be helpful signs to point to one or the other?  I just can't think of definitive symptoms besides swelling and hives that belong exclusively to an allergy.  Allergies are more likely to cause redness on skin esp. around the anus and odd mouth sensations (burning, prickling, tingling) but every food reacts differently in every individual and an allergy might act exactly like LI.  Have you tried swiping some whole milk on sensitive skin, such as your inner arm and wrist?  


Regardless, you need to eliminate it entirely, including casein and other milk derivatives in odd places.   (Whey is a sneaker.... it's in everything it seems!)  Then add back fermented dairy at first.  I don't feel that lactose free milk is useful for anyone but those with the most mild cases.  Mine's pretty mild and I notice the effects of it, so I have no idea about this product.  Other's probably have some experience to contradict mine, that's why advice on this subject gets so tricky!

post #4 of 6

Lactose free products are great if you're only allergic to the milk sugar.  If you are allergic to the protein, then yeah--it's all casein derivatives.  Oddly, if you're allergic to the protein, you could take a product that uses lactose as a sweetener even though it's a milk product because it's the sugar--not the protein (as long as you don't react to both).


And there's a lot of "to do" about using the term "allergy" over "intolerance".  At the end of the day, if you have a reaction, then you have a reaction.  It doesn't much matter what you call it.  Even intolerances that are left untreated for extended periods of time have strong potential to cause autoimmune disorders later on.  I think most people identify with using "allergy" for the epi-pen and the more familiar signs of allergic reaction (diarrhea, vomiting, hives, eczema, etc.) and "intolerance" for things that are more mild.

post #5 of 6

I agree.... it drives me nuts when people say it's "only an intolerance".  Intolerances can cause excruciating pain, nutritional deficiences, and long term health troubles if ignored, same as allergies.

post #6 of 6
I am 42 and have been Lactose Intolerant for about 10 years. All humans produce 'Lactase' , which is an enzyme designed to break down Lactose (the sugar found in milk) At about age 6 humans begin to produce less Lactase - as the years go by they produce less and less. Different heritages can play a role as well, people from Mediterranean, African and Asian backgrounds have significantly MORE Lactose Intolerance than Western Europeans. Also overdoing it with dairy products seems to hasten LI - my ex husband used to drink a half gallon of milk every day and he was LI by age 29. For me, having a huge bowl of ice cream every single night from age 5 to age 31 im sure made an impact!
For me , the first signs were with ice cream, i couldnt finish a bowl without having to put it down and run to the bathroom, but i could still eat some cheese. At this point - i can eat about one slice of cheese per month without having symptoms.
Casein is the protein in milk which is hard for babies to digest. Galactosemia is the metabolic disorder which is essentially a "Lactose Intolerance" in newborns - it is VERY rare! Lactose is a big building block for brain development and human milk contains plenty of it - more than cows/goats/bats/walrus milk.
At this point - i just avoid all dairy foods when im out and about - every now and again, in the privacy of my home - i will eat some cheesy junk food - its interesting to note that mozzarella seems to be made more from oil than milk - i can often eat pizza with only mild symptoms - of course, it depends on where it was made.
Go easy on the milk products - for me, i dont like replacing non dairy substitutes for the real thing cause it just doesnt taste as good. - But that said, i would like to recommend Hemp Milk for that occasional bowl of Cap'n Crunch!
Lastly, yogurt contains lactose.....so many people try to tell me that it doesnt.... sheeps' milk contains lactose - but less than cows milk. Feel free to PM if you have any more questions- ive been dairy free for a loooong time now!
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