Often when you are diagnosed with celiac disease you may also find that you are suffering from lactose intolerance symptoms.
Steering clear of lactose may only be necessary temporarily, until your body has healed from the damage gluten has caused before your diagnosis.
What is lactose intolerance?
Lactose is a sugar, or disaccharide, that is found in milk. Normally, during digestion our bodies produce an enzyme, lactase, that breaks down the lactose into simple sugars that we can absorb.
However, if we do not produce enough lactase we can suffer some nasty effects.
If the lactose is not broken down within the small intestine it passes further through the gastrointestinal (GI) system, to the colon where bacteria feed on it. This can cause gas and toxins to build up, which in turn can cause flatulence, abdominal pain and diarrhoea.
So what would cause us to have a lactase deficiency?
- For some the condition is inherited.
- For others it may be due to a previous GI infection, malnutrition or celiac disease
Basically damage to the lining of the small intestine, such as that which happens when a person with celiac is not following a gluten free diet, can temporarily cause a lactase deficiency.
It can be difficult to diagnose as the symptoms are common to a number of other conditions, including of course celiac.
Lactose intolerance symptoms can vary in their severity for a number of reasons. Perhaps the main one depends on how much food containing lactose a person is ingesting.
So what foods does someone with this condition need to avoid?