How to know if dairy is causing your bloating

Posted at 6:01 PM, Dec 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-02 18:01:44-05

Abdominal bloating is a common complaint and sometimes it seems a puffy belly happens for no reason. While there are several causes to why bloating happens, many people are surprised to learn that dairy foods could be the trigger. And this may mean you have lactose intolerance.

Milk and milk products contain lactose, which is a sugar. Your body has an enzyme in your intestines that digests this.  But if you don’t make enough of the enzyme, then the lactose stays undigested and pulls water into your gut which causes bloating.

Lactose intolerance varies from person to person. Some people can tolerate certain dairy products, even eat small servings without discomfort.  To figure out if dairy is causing your bloating, I’d recommend you cut back on it for about 2 weeks.  Then add it back in slowly, in small amounts. Keep a journal and track what you eat, how much and what effect it has on you.

Partha’s RX:

1. If you suspect you’re lactose intolerant, talk to your doctor.
Ask them for a hydrogen breath test - this can confirm a diagnosis.

2. Add gentle exercise like walking or swimming to your daily routine
This keeps the digestive system moving.

3. Don’t eliminate dairy completely if you don’t have to
Milk is a major source of calcium and Vitamin D which you need for bone health.

4. If you cut back on dairy, eat other foods that contain calcium
Broccoli, kale, okra, collard greens, almonds, and shrimp are good options. 

Bloating can be caused by quite a few things. 

Like eating fatty foods, drinking carbonated beverages, or eating too fast.  It can also be caused by stress, anxiety, celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, or a gastrointestinal blockage. Talk to your doctor if your symptoms don’t improve with dietary changes