What are the symptoms of lactose intolerance and can you develop it over time?

The past few days I have been experiencing cramping, frequent trips to the restroom, some nausea. I am 24 and have never had a problem with dairy products before. Could I be developing this? It only happens after I eat foods that have dairy in them.

6 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    The symptoms include gas, bloating, cramping, diarrhea, nausea, and sometimes, in extreme cases, vomiting. And yes, you can develop it over time.

    I didn't develop it until I was in my late 20s, but it's probably partly genetic with me because I am half-Arab, and many adult Arabs are lactose intolerant. I really only have problems with things like milk and ice cream, and I can have a moderate amount with no problems.

    Many people develop it as they get older, and it can be for a variety of reasons. It can be genetic, as I mentioned earlier, but even a long course of strong antibiotics can kill all or most of the flora in your stomach and leave you unable to deal with dairy products.

    If you are of Asian or European descent, it is very important that you find a solution, as you are particularly prone to osteoporosis as you age, and you need to get regular calcium, either through what you eat or through a supplement. You can try aged cheeses, such as cheddar, and yogurt works for most people, as well. (I know I can eat yogurt all day long if I want, and I have not problems at all). Also, try talking to your doctor about appropriate supplements. I just take some Lactaid if I know I will be needing it, but he may have other ideas about things for you to take. You may also want to make a calcium supplement part of your daily routine, as that will help make up for some of the benefits you are missing out on by not being able to process dairy.

    There is also the posibility that you have a temporary stomach bug. I have noticed that when I have mild cases of food poisoning or the stomach flu, I cannot tolerate any dairy products at all. Since you said it's just the last few days that you have experienced these problems, you may want to monitor them closely and see if they go away on their own.

    No matter what you do, make sure that you get regular calcium and Vitamin D, even if you cannot get it from dairy. Both are essential to health.

    I wish you luck!

    P.S. If you, like me, cannot do without ice cream, try frozen yogurt instead. All of the flavor and fun factor, but none of the grief (plus, it's fat free!).

  • 1 decade ago

    Hi there,

    The symptoms usually are:

    Stomach rumbling, abdominal distension and increased wind.


    Abdominal colic.


    Many people become lactose intolerant for a few days after they have had diarrhoea. This is because the lining of the small intestine has been slightly damaged by the disease, thereby reducing the production of lactase. Also you can become lactose intolerant when you are older.

    In your case I would maybe keep a jurnal of every time you eat or drink anything with lactose and what happends, then go to the doctor and tell them what you found out.

    Good luck :-)

  • S H
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    The symptoms could be any one or all of the following:

    Stomach rumbling, abdominal distension and increased wind, Diarrhea, Abdominal colic, Nausea.

    Many people can become lactose intolerant for a few days after they have had diarrhea. This is because the lining of the small intestine has been slightly damaged by the disease, thereby reducing the production of lactase.

    People who have had major bowel or stomach surgery, or suffer from colic disease are often lactose intolerant until the underlying condition is treated.

    And many people can develop it later in life due to the breakdown of lactase enzyme.

  • 1 decade ago

    It's possible, i didn't develop lactose intolerance until I was like 18 or so. Luckily it isn't the worst case of it. Just cramping mostly. This sounds weird, but if I drink a glass of orange juice with my cereal in the morning, i don't have cramping and bloating. So 's give it a try when ur eating cereal. If not, stick to some lactaid milk (it's really not bad).

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  • 1 decade ago

    You may want to try to take some over the counter medication called lactaid ultra before you eat any dairy products. You can develop this condition as early as child birth I have seen it before when I have delivered a baby and I heard the pediatrician that was on call suggest to the mother that she needed to put the infant on something else different than the formula the infant was ingesting at that particular time. But back to your question if you try that route if that does not help then you might want to ask your family doctor what does he/she suggest. I hope this helps you.

  • 1 decade ago

    From what I know lactose intolerance can happen to an individual over time. Certain organisms can destroy the lactobacillus in our digestive systems (the ones that breakdown lactose) and cause the symptoms that you are describing. Talk to your physician and ask if taking a lactobacillus supplement would benefit you.

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