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Name: Alani
Status: student
Age: 20s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 2000-2001


Question:
Hello my name is Alani, and my question has to deal with people who are lactose intolerent! For instance my mom can't have ANY dairy products not even a tablesoon, and when she takes those lactose pills they do nothing for her. For instance 10 at one time and she still gets so sick, I was wondering and had heard about rice milk. What other medicine of product would be good for her?


Replies:
First, the disclaimer: I AM NOT A MEDICAL DOCTOR. DO NOT ACCEPT ANYTHING I WRITE AS A DIAGNOSIS OR A RECOMMENDATION FOR TREATMENT.

Sounds like your mom isn't actually lactose intolerant, but may instead have an allergy to milk. Lactose intolerant people just can't digest lactose, so lactose that makes it through the stomach and intestines gets broken down by bacteria, causing gas and pain. You mother's symptoms aren't consistent with this, given that very small amounts of dairy products still make her sick, and lactase pills don't help. So probably the problem is not the lactose, but something else in the milk.

Rice milk and soy milk are expensive, but they do taste a little bit like milk. They do not contain any milk, lactose, or milk proteins, so they should not bother your mother, unless she also has a rice or soy allergy.

My recommendation is this: ask her doctor if she could be allergic to milk. If her doctor doesn't know, take her to an allergist to find out.

Richard E. Barrans Jr., Ph.D.
Assistant Director
PG Research Foundation, Darien, Illinois


What you're describing sounds pretty severe for lactose intolerance. You may actually be talking about a milk allergy. This can be a problem for babies on formula too. There are a couple of milk substitutes out there, available in health food stores and increasingly in regular supermarkets. She can try rice milk or soy milk. I've most often seen them packaged in 3 packs of drink-boxes.

---------
Christine Ticknor
Ph.D. Student
Yale University
New Haven, Connecticut


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