The symptoms of lactose intolerance will occur after eating or drinking a substance that contains lactose, such as dairy products. The main symptoms include:
- flatulence (wind)
- diarrhoea three or more times a day
- bloated stomach
- stomach pains
- stomach rumbling
- stomach cramps
The severity of your symptoms and when you begin to experience them will depend on the amount of lactose that you have eaten or drunk.
The amount of lactose that it takes to start your symptoms will vary from person to person. For example, some people may still be able to drink a small glass of milk without triggering any symptoms, while others may not even be able to have milk in their tea.
The symptoms of lactose intolerance can be similar to those of other conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or milk protein intolerance. IBS is a chronic (long-term) disorder that affects the digestive system. Milk protein intolerance is an allergy to the protein in milk from cows. Due to the similarities, these three conditions can sometimes be confused.
Last updated: 04 October 2011
Allergy is the term used to describe an adverse (bad) reaction that the body has to a particular substance.
Continue to next section: Causes of lactose intolerance