Patient Comments: Lactose Intolerance - Symptoms


The symptoms of lactose intolerance can vary greatly from patient to patient. What were your symptoms at the onset of your disease? Submit Your Comment

Comment from: FireGurl26, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: June 10

I became lactose intolerant after my complete hysterectomy/oophorectomy in 2018. My symptoms include constipation, diarrhea, lower back pain, inability to bend over 100 percent, upper abdominal bloating, gas and swollen ankles. I have since eliminated all dairy at home. Of course, I usually consume hidden dairy when on vacation. Lactaid doesn't work on me. I have found vitamin C really helps with the severity and longevity of my symptoms. This is a new discovery for me.

Comment from: Meg, 65-74 (Caregiver) Published: March 06

I discovered 6 months ago of my lactose intolerance after suffering bloating, pain and gas getting worse throughout the day. For years I thought it was irritable bowel syndrome until I cut out all dairy products. Instant relief. Four relatives are the same.

Comment from: Mommy McQueen, Female (Patient) Published: September 15

I developed lactose intolerance when I was 13 years old. It was probably earlier but it was not until then that I discovered the problem was milk. My symptoms are excruciating pain in my esophagus and stomach. It feels like if someone is squeezing my esophagus. I have over production of saliva and I cannot swallow anything, not even my own saliva. I cannot burp either and that causes lots of pain. Pain lasts till next day. I wish I could cure this. I am 33 years old now.

Comment from: Gerhard, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: August 25

I thought I was lactose intolerant as my symptoms are mouth ulcers and severe sinus headaches after using dairy and from the age of 44 I have had Parkinson’s disease. About 2 years ago I also visited a friend’s farm and was using full cream unprocessed milk on my porridge. Full cream should have given me a serious reaction, but I had no reaction. I personally think that my problems is from the by-products in the dairy. As a result of the severe sinus headaches I have used anti-histamine with headache pills on a regular base, which I recon caused my Parkinson’s disease.

Comment from: Nurse 101, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: March 24

On my menstrual cycle when I eat 'real' ice cream, such as Cold Stone I have symptoms of diarrhea and bowel urgency. During the rest of the month these lactose intolerance symptoms are not present. This is my first time actually noticing this phenomenon.

Comment from: magagmm96, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: October 11

I wonder if consuming dairy while being lactose intolerant can cause missed periods. I'm pretty sure all my digestive symptoms are caused by dairy. However, I still have a missing puzzle piece, which is the nonexistent period (no period for the last 3 months). I'm also definitely not pregnant.

Comment from: vikram, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: November 17

I used to have gastric bloating, pain, gas in the abdomen, racing heartbeat, and lethargy. Due to that reason sometime I get severe chest pain. I consulted my doctor and he advised me ECG followed by echo cardiograph, and stress and strain test. All my reports were ok. Then I was referred to a gastroenterologist. He diagnosed hiatal hernia after endoscopy but failed to explain the unbearable pain in the chest. He prescribed me PPI (proton pump inhibitor) and antacids. I got a fraction of relief but I was not quit okay. I suffered badly with this problem for more than two years. One day I read about lactose intolerance with some similar symptoms I stopped consuming milk and milk products all of a sudden. From next day onwards I did not have any problem. I was alright. It was a miracle for me.

Comment from: Maygin, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: July 15

My lactose intolerance started when I was 19/20. Probably due to the freshman diet in University (lots of Kraft Dinner and cereal). Since then, I consume the tiniest amount of lactose. Whether it be a sip of my daughter’s bottle to test the warmth, or a small half spoonful of yogurt, with anything I will experience the intolerance. I get back pains, sharp pains through my stomach, bloated stomach, gas, nausea, vomiting, sometimes constipation, sometimes diarrhea (whatever my body decides that day), and I will be down and out for hours on end. I'm starting to think that it's something more than just lactose intolerance, as I will take 4 pills before I eat and 60% of the time I will still experience everything.

Comment from: Denise, 55-64 Female (Caregiver) Published: November 18

Since visiting a relative's dairy farm end of August, my husband has been experiencing pain in his esophagus area. While on the farm, he consumed a large amount of raw milk and became ill (severe diarrhea) for a day and a half before we left for home. He thought the problem was either upper GI (gastro intestinal) or cardiac because of where the pain is. He's been hospitalized and had every test imaginable since then and all the results are negative. Yesterday, his doctor asked him to eliminate his lactose intake and journal for a week.


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Comment from: Britgal, 7-12 Female (Caregiver) Published: October 31

My 11 year old daughter has very bad stomach pain. She describes the feeling as being punched in the stomach. She has had chronic stomach pain for years which was diagnosed as chronic constipation. About 2 years ago I realized milk products made her pain worse. She had 2 great pain free years without dairy. However, now her stomach pain has returned and again I am trying to figure out what is causing it. Eating seems to cause her pain and she feels full after a few bites.

Comment from: kdb, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: October 24

I was in my teens when I realized I was lactose intolerant. I do not know how this came about but I realized when I was about 14 years old (I am now 25) that after drinking a glass of milk, I had a lot of bloating and abdominal pain and the gas and diarrhea were horrible. They caused excruciating pain, to the point that I couldn't move. During my menstrual cycle, the cramps would be so bad if I drank milk.

Comment from: brittany82890, 13-18 Female Published: October 06

I may have the strangest case of lactose intolerance yet. First of all I’m 18, and diagnosed myself basically just before I turned 17. I have the most severe intolerance of the people I’ve talked to. If I eat even a spoonful of low-fat pudding my stomach begins to gurgle and I will have some flatulence. With one cookie I will have gas, bloating, cramping, and nausea. If I have even a small amount of cheese or something else dairy that’s more than the size of a cookie I will be on the ground, in the fetal position, clutching my stomach, with gas, nausea, sweating, tremendous pain, and sometimes vomiting. Usually my symptoms occur within 15-20 minutes of eating something with dairy in it, and can last for 8 or more hours. The strangest thing is how I "got" the illness. I think it may have occurred from well the articles I’ve read says it could be from damaging the lining of the small intestine, so I think what caused mine was when I ate half a container of frozen expired chocolate cool-whip. It was about 2 weeks expired but had been frozen so I thought it would be okay. I had severe pain, cramping, nausea, hot flashes, some vomiting, and it lasted I’d say about 24 hours. Does anyone know if the bacteria from expired foods could cause enough damage to result in lactose intolerance? I know cool-whip has no lactose in it, and since that day, anytime I ate any amount of dairy products I would get the symptoms. Please, tell me if you have any information. It’d be great to know what cause this very annoying and painful illness.

Comment from: VL, 25-34 Female (Caregiver) Published: September 26

I would somehow agree with the previous comment that lactose intolerance may be associated with the menstrual cycle. In my case, I noted bloatedness, palpitations, hot flushes and diarrhea within minutes after taking diet containing milk. Also, I have noted that this usually happens in the second half of my cycle. During this time, I observe that I am more vulnerable to allergies and food intolerance. I would get hot flushes and palpitations drinking soya milk, eating watermelons and seconds after taking certain brand of tea.

Comment from: Lincoln NE, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: August 29

I was just diagnosed with lactose intolerance last week after a few months of experiencing bloating, distension, loose stools, diarrhea and gas cramps. I also have noticed more pronounced symptoms in the second half of my menstrual cycle, from ovulation to the beginning of my period. I spoke with a dietician yesterday who said that no one knows why people just become intolerant, but she indicated that it may be hormonal. When I described my experience, she nodded her head and said she worked in an OBGYN clinic and has heard that the intolerance symptoms do fluctuate around a woman's menstrual cycle.

Comment from: Irishlass1966, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: February 20

I was diagnosed 6 months ago as being lactose Intolerant and stayed off all dairy. It didn"t seem to help because I was still having chronic diarrhea and other symptoms. Well, I seem to be getting every symptom under the sun for gluten sensitivity some of which mimic lactose intolerance; I will try to eliminate gluten and see if that cures the problem.

Comment from: Jim, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: November 19

I have recently self-tested for lactose intolerance after talking to my doctor about a burning sensation after bowel movements. The burning was so severe that it was causing hemorrhoids. After one day of eliminating milk from my diet, the relief was immediate. I had previously consumed at least two glasses of milk a day. I will now try lactase tablets before consuming milk.

Comment from: Scotto, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: September 26

My first symptom was gas noise in my gut followed by a skipped heartbeat sensation. This in turn led to anxiety that further exacerbated the heart symptoms. Unfortunately, I was hospitalized with these heart symptoms that eventually were diagnosed as lactose intolerance. All I needed was a Lactaid pill before eating dairy and I would have been fine. But my lack of knowledge led me down the wrong path. Hopefully, this will be helpful to someone out there.


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Comment from: sweet and petite, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: August 22

I was wondering if any women diagnosed with lactose intolerance find that their symptoms are more pronounced during the second half of your menstrual cycles. To the health care providers on this forum, can fluctuating hormone levels affect the level of lactose intolerance, or is it just PMS?

Published: July 01

I have always been lactose intolerant, but the symptoms became more prevalent as I grew older. By 16, the skim milk powder in granola bars would affect me with cramping, bloating, diarrhea, vomiting and very bad gas. The cramping has since led to severe pain along with the burning in the stomach, flatulence, diarrhea, bloating and distention, loss of appetite, vomiting and fatigue.

Published: June 27

At the onset of disease I developed profound belching. My PCP thought I had gall bladder problems and ordered a sonogram. The sonogram showed a large stone in the gall bladder. So out came the gall bladder. Nine days after the surgery I was belching again. Now with sinusitis, globus, and GERD like symptoms. Finally after one year and many unnecessary tests I tested positive for extreme lactose intolerance. No more lactose - no more symptoms.

Published: June 05

Nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, burning in the stomach, lower intestinal cramping, and fatigue.

Published: June 02

When I first knew of my intolerance, I was hospitalized for food poisoning. It turned out that I was intolerant of the milk I was drinking and the ice cream I was eating, and the cheese in my diet. It acted like a poison when I did not avoid these foods.

Comment from: 45-54 Female Published: October 06

My symptoms seem to mirror lactose intolerance. I am waiting for test results to return to be certain but my GP is leaning towards this diagnoses. What is interesting is the discussion about the influence that hormones may play. I have been experiencing pre-menopausal symptoms since about February (it is now October) and have begun to have intermittent periods in the last four months which is a fairly certain indication that hormonal changes are taking place. Curiously my 'lactose intolerance' symptoms began about 9 weeks ago.

Comment from: Trisha, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: October 06

I was diagnosed with celiac disease like 4 years ago and never realized the huge amount of gas and diarrhea. I experience after eating yogurt could be attributed to lactose intolerance. Reading this article I know that I must avoid yogurt and milk products even though I do not follow a totally gluten free diet. Thanks for this information.

Comment from: , 19-24 Male (Patient) Published: October 06

I started facing this problem many years back and don’t remember exactly when and how it started. Now whenever I take milk especially cow's milk, not the tea prepared with it, I feel some pressure and fullness in the abdomen and later I start getting mild pain with flatulence and watery diarrhea that persists for about few hours. It goes away spontaneously. The problem is more with dry milk. The similar problems also occur when I take high protein diets like roasted chicken in relatively large quantities.

Comment from: Peggy, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: October 06

My symptoms were off and on again diarrhea plus gas and bloating. I first recall symptoms at age 56 but thought they were due to a drug I was taking. But after I stopped taking the drug five years later, the symptoms continued and got worse. At my doctor's suggestion, I'm trying a reduced lactose diet (no mile, ice cream, etc.), but not milk in products like baked goods, etc. My symptoms have gone away over the past 10 days, but since my problem was variable I need to "test" it a while longer. My doctor is also doing a glucose test and celiac test.

Comment from: student patient, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: September 26

I feel great pain in my stomach after eating dairy product. I get very bloated and the feeling is similar to having a growing balloon in my stomach, full with water. Sometimes the pain is so strong that I break down in tears. Indigestion occurs for the rest of the day and the feeling will go away only the next day, ending with diarrhea. I've tried the lact-aid pills before, during and after eating, and it does not work.

Comment from: cc, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: September 26

I've been lactose since high school and since then I too have noticed during my cycle it's definitely worse than normal. What I am worried is there are times I almost pass out. The pain is a little scary and I am wondering when I should consult a doctor as I am also having irregular bowl movements once maybe twice if I'm lucky. I think I drink plenty of water, eat my fruits, and exercise a little.

Comment from: Holly, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: September 17

I am a 55 year old female and have been lactose intolerant for 15 years. I have just recently gone through menopause and have not had a hot flash for 3 months now. Coincidentally, I have tolerated milk and milk products for the past 3 months. Is this a coincidence or does the hormone level indeed affect lactose intolerance.

Comment from: teejay, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: September 17

A friend, who is lactose intolerant, told me that it seems I might be, as I have many symptoms. I knew nothing about this, and I’ve never had a problem with lactose that I know of. This is the first website I’ve been to so far, and it seems quite evident this is what’s going on. I agree that my symptoms get worse when I’m menstruating and, therefore, it was hard to figure out what symptoms are normal with my changing body. There were more things happening to my body that I should look into. When my hormones are changing, I unfortunately crave milk and dairy products (Yay, chocolate). Thanks MedicineNet! Because I’m not a cyberchondriac, and I am not a self diagnosing type, I will definitely make an appointment with my physician right away.

Comment from: ss2, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: August 22

My symptoms were severe bloating of my stomach, uncontrollable gas, and severe stomach pain. I was so miserable. I also had problems controlling my bowel movements after a meal. I would have to be close to a restroom at all times. I never knew when I would have to go to the bathroom.

Comment from: 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: August 13

The primary symptom I experience with my lactose intolerance is terrible flatulence. After consuming one, 8-ounce glass of milk, I can expect to pass gas more than 200 times. It is a horrible and embarrassing experience.