On a daily basis, lactose intolerance can cause numerous inconveniences: stomach aches, bloating and diarrhoea. There are nearly 5 million people in France who suffer from these symptoms as soon as they consume milk products.
However, the link between symptoms and lactose consumption is not always clear. This is why the lactose intolerance test can help you to better understand and remedy these problems.
What is lactose intolerance?
Let's go back to the basics first: lactose is the milk sugar, more precisely a complex sugar that can only be digested when it is converted into a simple sugar. In order to do this and make the lactose available to the digestive tract, our body must produce the enzyme lactase in the small intestine.
Lactose intolerance therefore corresponds to an insufficient production of lactase by the body. In the absence of this enzyme, lactose ferments in the digestive tract and causes digestive disorders.
A lactose intolerance test can be carried out to confirm the cause of the symptoms and to adjust the diet accordingly.
What are the different tests for lactose intolerance?
There are several types of lactose intolerance tests, some of which are more accurate than others and may be prescribed by your doctor.
To begin with, you can perform the temporary dairy avoidance test. This is the simplest and most revealing test. For three days, you should avoid all lactose-containing products in your diet (read all labels) and note any improvements you notice in your digestion. After these three days, you should return to your normal diet and also note whether the symptoms return. If they do, lactose intolerance is very likely.
It is also possible to carry out a lactase supplementation test. To do this, take a lactase capsule and then a lactose-containing food and watch out for the appearance or otherwise of digestive discomfort. If your usual symptoms disappear thanks to lactase supplementation, you are indeed lactose intolerant. If you want to continue to eat foods containing lactose, turn to Lactolerance capsules to compensate for your lack of lactase. Do not hesitate to talk to your doctor.
The lactose intolerance test can also take the form of a breathing test: the "Breath hydrogen test", which consists of measuring the level of hydrogen released before and after the absorption of lactose. This intolerance test is carried out in a hospital and takes about 3 hours.
A genetic test can detect primary lactose intolerance, but it is of little relevance to detect secondary intolerances caused, for example, by medical treatment or disease.
The lactose intolerance blood test is rarely performed, but it measures the blood glucose level before and after consumption of lactose. If the blood sugar level does not rise after ingestion, then lactose intolerance is present.
In case of recurrent symptoms, it is important to carry out a lactose intolerance test: this will allow you to adapt your diet and plan lactase supplementation when you wish to consume lactose products.
There are several lactose intolerance testsHere are five of them:
Temporary dairy avoidance test
Step one: for three days, avoid all dairy products (milk, yoghurt, cheese, creams,...) and products containing lactose* (cold cuts, ready meals, chocolate, pastries, sauces, dressings, etc.). Read the labels of everything you eat. The words whey, milk powder also indicate the presence of lactose.
After these three days, note the improvements: do you still have stomach pains? Are you bloated? Do you still have diarrhoea?
Second step: go back to your normal eating habits and see if your symptoms return. If your digestive problems return, then lactose intolerance is likely. Talk to your doctor or dietician.
Lactase supplementation test
Lactose intolerance is caused by a lack of the enzyme lactase. This test consists of compensating for this lack by taking lactase in a capsule with a lactose-containing food, such as a pastry, for example.
- If your digestive discomfort disappears (abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhoea), then lactose intolerance is very likely and you have the solution in hand. Do not hesitate to talk to your doctor.
- If there is no improvementIf you are not lactose intolerant, talk to your doctor to explore other options.
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The breathing test, called " Breath hydrogen test" consists of measuring the level of hydrogen released before and after lactose intake. This test is performed in hospital on an empty stomach and takes 2 hours. This test can be unpleasant because of the lactose intake. Click here for a list of test centres and health professionals concerned with lactose intolerance
The genetic test can only detect a primary lactose intolerance from a simple blood test. On the other hand, this test does not make it possible to characterise a secondary intolerance, i.e. one caused by a disease, medical or surgical treatment, for example. The cost is high and is not covered by social security.
Blood glucose measurement (blood test) is to measure the level of glucose in the blood before and after lactose ingestion. If the blood sugar level does not rise afterwards, lactose intolerance is characterised. This test is rarely performed.
In France, 5 million people suffer from the symptoms of lactose intolerance They have a stomach ache, bloating and diarrhoea every time they consume a milk product.
Eating out and socialising are often problematic: is there fresh cream in this sauce? Does this croissant contain milk? Does this sausage contain lactose? How frustrating it is to be forced to deprive yourself of a varied diet! You have to give up cheese, yoghurt, ice cream, cakes, sauces, etc.
With Lactolérance you can consume all dairy products as you wish, without deprivation, without inconvenience, naturally !
* If you are on medical treatment, you should never stop it, even if your medication contains lactose. Talk to your doctor.