Lactose intolerance is a common digestive problem where the body is unable to digest lactose (type of sugar found in milk and dairy products), due to the individuals not producing enough of the enzyme lactase in order to breakdown the lactose. The lactose stays in the digestive system, where it’s fermented by bacteria. This then leads to the various and often unpleasant symptoms.

What are the Symptoms?

Symptoms usually develop within a few hours of consuming the food and/or drink. The severity of your symptoms and when they appear depends on the amount of lactose you have consumed.
– wind (flatulence)
– diarrhoea
– a bloated stomach
– stomach cramps and pains
– stomach rumbling
– feeling sick

When to seek medical advice?

It’s important to visit your GP if you think you or your child may have lactose intolerance, as the symptoms can be similar to other conditions. For example, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The NHS recommend keeping a diary of what you eat and drink and the symptoms you experience, this makes the diagnosis stages easier and quicker.

Image may contain: drink and plantIf your GP thinks you have lactose intolerance, they may suggest avoiding foods and drinks containing lactose for 2 weeks to see if your symptoms improve.


There’s no cure for lactose intolerance, but most people are able to control their symptoms by making changes to their diet. It’s extremely important that you seek advice from a registered healthcare professional who specialise in diet and nutrition, for example a Dietitian or Registered Nutritionist. If you would like any help or advice about lactose intolerance then please book an appointment today!

By Phoebe Wharton, Clinic Nutritionist