Lactose Intolerance, Milk Allergy Or Food Poisoning?

Question

Asked by cdeato

Lactose Intolerance, Milk Allergy Or Food Poisoning?

I figured out years back that I had some lactose intolerance issues when about twice a week I would have nausea and diarrhea shortly after dinner. It happened when I would drink a second glass of (fat-free) milk with dinner, so when I limited myself to one glass, I pretty much eliminated the problem. I can eat other dairy with dinner -- very often adding fat free sour cream and/or cottage cheese to my dinner. I can eat pizza, ice cream, etc without consequence, but I avoid cream sauces and the like. I have on a few occasions when eating out (at very expensive restaurants) gotten food that was probably prepared with cream and had bad nausea and diarrhea. But here's my question. Three times in the last 10 years or so, I experienced nausea after eating, then within hours, bouts of vomiting an hour apart (these would wake me up if I had managed to sleep) for about 7 to 8 hours. This happened last a few days ago after eating a mix of pasta with vegetables (plus FF sour cream on top, plus a salad, 1/2 glass FF milk). My husband ate exactly what I ate with no symptoms. I knew I might not vomit anymore when afterwards I wasn't tasting dinner in my burps anymore. The next day I was in bed, unable to get up for more than a few minutes, and maybe 18 hours after the vomiting stopped, watery diarrhea started, but not crampy. In between I was still having a hard time being upright, but after the last bout of diarrhea, I could actually function (although weak from no food & dehydrated). It was as though whatever it was was toxic to my system. I thought maybe mushrooms (which I usually avoid, but never noticed symptoms before) but then I saw "double cream" in the ingredients. One of the other times this happened I had creamy potato soup at a restaurant beforehand. I can't remember what I ate the third time. Could this be a severe lactose intolerance issue?

Answer

Hi there,

Sorry to hear you've been having so many problems with food. It's been my experience that lactose intolerance can be kind of choosy. For instance, my daughter is extremely intolerant to parmesan cheese but can eat most other types of dairy products. So, I think it's conceivable that at least some of your symptoms are due to a food intolerance.

But I would encourage you to talk with a doctor about learning more about what may be going on in your body. And meanwhile, I'd avoid all of the foods that you think may have been responsible for your past symptoms.

To your health,

Kathi