If you are experiencing irritation or gastrointestinal discomfort after eating dairy, you may be dairy or lactose intolerant. Dairy intolerance means that your digestive system has trouble processing dairy products such as milk, eggs and cheese. Gastritis can also occur if you have dairy intolerance. Gastritis is a condition in which the lining of your stomach becomes inflamed. Seeking treatment and avoiding foods that trigger both conditions can help you have a healthy digestive system.
Dairy or lactose intolerance is a common condition and approximately 30 million adults are lactose intolerant by their 20s, notes PubMed Health. A dairy intolerance occurs when your small intestines fails to make enough lactase – a digestive enzyme that aids in food absorption. Symptoms may include gas, nausea, diarrhea and abdominal cramping and bloating. Among the many causes of dairy intolerance are intestinal infections, intestinal disease and other conditions of the gastrointestinal tract, including gastritis.
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You may find that your gastritis is triggered when you consume certain dairy products – especially cow's milk, explains Drugs.com. You are more likely to develop an acute case of gastritis if you have a serious dairy intolerance. Gastritis occurs when the protective layer in your stomach is compromised or damaged. Gastritis can be triggered by many things in addition to or apart from dairy intolerance such as bacterial infections, stress and bile reflux disease, notes MayoClinic.com. Symptoms include indigestion, vomiting and feelings of fullness in the abdomen after eating.
While both dairy intolerance and gastritis are often conditions that can be controlled or avoided, some complications can develop. Dehydration can occur, especially with gastritis – this is mainly due to vomiting and the loss of electrolytes and fluids. If you begin to vomit after every meal or you notice blood in your vomit or your stool, seek medical attention immediately. Dairy intolerance can lead to weight loss and calcium deficiency. You may experience weight loss if you consume less than you recommended calories per day because of feeling nauseated or bloated from dairy intake. Calcium deficiency can occur if you avoid dairy products consistently over time.
You can control dairy intolerance by implementing soy or non-dairy substitutions in place of whole dairy products. Take a calcium supplement to alleviate your risk for bone mass loss -- especially if you are at risk for osteoporosis. Because gastritis symptoms are similar to dairy intolerance, ask your physician about an accurate diagnosis. Lowering stress levels, eliminating spicy foods and taking antacids can help reduce the occurrence of gastritis, explains MedlinePlus.
Is this an emergency? If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, please see the National Library of Medicine’s list of signs you need emergency medical attention or call 911.