Your belly is in pain, and making sounds
iStock/Eva Katalin Kondoros
Without lactase, your body’s attempt at breaking down lactose by itself can draw a lot of water into your intestine, in addition to gas in your gut, which are symptoms of lactose intolerance. The result is an unfortunate combination of diarrhea, cramps, and the sound of gurgling or rumbling in the belly, also known as borborygmi. According to eMedicineHealth.com, sometimes the diarrhea of someone who is lactose intolerant will also appear foamy, the result of all of the extra gas and fluid sloshing around in the gut. Here are some more signs you have an unhealthy gut.
You feel nauseous after eating dairy
There are different degrees of lactose intolerance, according to Chicago-based registered dietitian Karen Raden, RD; some individuals experience more extreme symptoms of lactose intolerance than others. In the worst cases, a lactase deficiency can cause someone to feel the need to vomit shortly after they consume a dairy product. “Gas in the intestine inflates it like a balloon, inducing a vomiting response,” says Dr. Mason. This reaction is relatively rare, according to Raden, but if it’s regularly occurring to you when you eat milk products, it’s probably a sign of a lactase deficiency. If you think you are lactose intolerant, here are the best dairy substitutes to try.
Your ethnicity has higher rates of lactose intolerance
We all need lactase to digest our mother’s milk as infants, but evolution didn’t automatically equip us to keep consuming lactose into adulthood. Humans’ ability to digest lactose in adulthood didn’t develop until about 5,000 years ago, among cattle herders in northern Europe, for whom the ability to digest milk was especially useful, according to the New York Times. Though genetics that allow for the presence of lactase in the body have spread in large portions of the Caucasian and East African populations, East Asian, South Asian, and other African populations have much higher incidences of adults experiencing symptoms of lactose intolerance, according to Dr. Mason. Here are the things that happen to your body when you give up dairy.