What Is Lactose Intolerance?

If you have digestive discomfort after consuming foods made with cows’ milk, you could be lactose intolerant. But you don’t need to miss out on the foods you love as Lactofree has a range of real dairy products, just without the lactose.

While many people think they’re intolerant to dairy, the uncomfortable symptoms that occur after eating dairy are often caused by lactose, the natural sugar found in milk. Lactose intolerance is the inability to digest lactose, which can begin from birth or develop at any age.

To find out if you might be lactose intolerant, you can try our quick and easy discovery tool, which has been developed by our Lactofree health experts. If it seems likely that you are lactose intolerant, you can then go on to learn more about your intolerance with our elimination diet.

Please note that Lactofree is not suitable for cows’ milk allergy sufferers or those with Galactosaemia.

It’s important to note that a cows’ milk allergy can produce more severe symptoms as explained by our Lactofree health experts in these videos.

Symptoms Explained

Lactose Intolerance

What are the Symptoms?

  • Stomach upset
  • Irritable bowels
  • Bloating
  • Stomach cramps
  • Diarrhoea
  • Wind
  • Nausea

Lactose is the sugar found in milk, which can cause digestive problems for people with lactose intolerance. These problems occur when the body is unable to produce enough of the lactase enzyme in the digestive tract, which means the lactose cannot be digested properly, causing uncomfortable symptoms.

Lactose is present in many things you wouldn’t expect including crisps, biscuits, crackers, fruit bars, pasta mixes, iced tea and also some coatings on oral medicines.

Symptoms experienced by people with lactose intolerance usually occur between 30 minutes and two hours after consuming dairy.

Cows' Milk Allergy

What are the Symptoms?

  • Diarrhoea
  • Bloody stools
  • Vomiting
  • Eczema
  • Nasal congestion
  • Hives
  • Skin rashes
  • Wheezing
  • Swelling of the lips, mouth and tongue
  • Unintentional weight loss

An allergy to cows’ milk is often confused with lactose intolerance and it’s important to distinguish between the two. Cows’ milk allergy is likely to occur from birth and is a reaction in the immune system to one or more proteins (casein) found in milk. In some cases this can cause a serious reaction, known as anaphylaxis, which affects the whole body often within minutes of exposure to dairy.

Lactose intolerance does not involve the immune system, so while it can cause discomfort, it won’t produce a dangerous reaction.

If you think you may have a cows’ milk allergy, you should seek advice from your GP or a registered dietitian.