Gastroenteritis and Milk

Young woman drinking milk
A woman drinks a glass of milk. (Image: David De Lossy/Valueline/Getty Images)

Milk is an excellent source of calcium and vitamin D, but if you have an upset stomach, you should avoid drinking milk and eating dairy products. Gastroenteritis is a general term used for an upset stomach or inflammation in the intestines. Gastroenteritis commonly causes nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, bloating, gas and cramping. Changing your diet while you're experiencing symptoms will help to decrease the severity and longevity of the inflammation. If you are vomiting for more than two days, see a doctor.

Associated Conditions

Gastroenteritis may accompany various conditions. For example, food poisoning, the stomach flu and rotavirus are all conditions that cause gastroenteritis. Food allergies and intolerances can also cause the lining of the intestines to become inflamed and irritated, leading to typical gastroenteritis symptoms. A clinical diagnosis is required to properly treat your symptoms. Gastroenteritis may lead to dehydration if you fail to increase your liquid consumption. Excessive vomiting and diarrhea can quickly deplete your body of water.

Eliminate Milk

Virginia Tech Schiffert Health Center recommends completely removing milk from your diet until your diarrhea completely stops. Drinking milk can make your diarrhea worse. Milk is found in cheese, half and half, creamy soups and smoothies. Milk is also used in many unlikely products, such as hard candy, salad dressing and baked goods. You may substitute milk with non-dairy alternatives such as rice milk, soy milk or coconut milk until your condition improves. Eliminate any type of food or beverage that could further aggravate your digestive system, such as alcohol, caffeine or fatty foods.

Yogurt May Help

Yogurt is the only milk product that is recommended by MayoClinic.com to treat gastroenteritis. Certain types of yogurt contain live and active cultures that can promote a healthy bacteria balance in your colon, helping regulate your bowel movements. Yogurt should be used under your doctor’s supervision. Use only plain yogurt that doesn’t contain any added sugar or artificial sweeteners. Eating diet or regular-flavored yogurt could make your condition worse. Eating yogurt containing probiotics -- good bacteria -- can also help build your immune system.

Reintroducing Milk

Do not reintroduce milk back into your diet if you are still having loose stools. Once your diarrhea has completely subsided, you can begin consuming milk and milk products again. If you continue to develop gastroenteritis symptoms after drinking milk, you may have another digestive condition related to milk.

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