If you identify when you develop symptoms of bloating, including stomach pain and gas, it might point towards an underlying health condition, such as lactose intolerance. Lactose intolerance is a digestive condition whereby the body is unable to digest the sugar known as lactose – primarily found in dairy products. Don’t expect the symptoms of lactose intolerance to surface as soon as you consume a dairy product.
Without an adequate supply of lactase, lactose stays in the digestive system, where it’s fermented by bacteria.
This leads to the production of gases, which cause the symptoms associated with lactose intolerance.
While the condition can develop at any age, many cases first develop in people aged 20 to 40.
Treatment involves the avoidance of lactose products, which is now easier to do with the surge of lactose-free products on supermarket shelves.
Thus, even without an underlying health condition, you can still develop lactose intolerance in later life.
As the symptoms of lactose intolerance can be very similar to other health conditions, it’s always best to seek professional medical advice from your doctor.
Medical testing can help confirm the diagnosis by uncovering how much lactase your body is producing.
This could include a lactose tolerance test, where you’ll be given a lactose solution to drink, alongside a blood test, to see if it causes a spike in blood sugar.