ZocdocAnswersIs dairy the cause of my digestive problems?

Question

Is dairy the cause of my digestive problems?

Sometimes I drink milk and then have trouble going to the bathroom. Is this why?

Answer

Typically patients with lactose intolerance who do have digestive problems related to dairy intake experience bloating, flatulence, abdominal discomfort and diarrhea, but not constipation. Lactose intolerance refers to the reduced ability or inability to digest lactose, a common type of carbohydrate that is found mainly in dairy products such as milk, cheese and ice cream. The reduced breakdown of the lactose causes less absorption of the sugar into the gut, which leads to the symptoms listed above. An allergy to cow's milk is much more common in infants and children than in adults. Usually this allergy is "outgrown" in childhood as tolerance to the milk develops. It would be unusual for a milk allergy in adults to manifest only as occasional constipation without any other associated symptoms. Constipation is often a result of reduced dietary fiber intake. It may be helpful to make an effort to increase your daily fiber intake and continue your usual intake of milk products at the same time.

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