After three weeks of mysterious on-and-off nausea, my lactose intolerance has been officially determined.
Note that when I say official, I mean that I conducted several tests on myself including drinking milk and waiting to feel crummy, and eating string cheese and waiting to feel crummy. The crumminess arrived promptly in both instances, to the point where I am now revolted at the prospect of dairy. Except for ice cream. My goodness, what will I do without ice cream this summer?
It seems funny to find out about this so late in life. I mean, I can think of childhood instances where dairy made me sick, but not to this extent. My sister also mentioned that it makes sense that I’m lactose intolerant, as I’ve never been a big milk drinker. I always thought that was just because I don’t especially enjoy the taste of plain milk, but perhaps this preference has roots in me not feeling well after drinking milk as a kid.
Apparently, however, not experiencing any symptoms for a few decades is fairly common. The National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse says the following:
Primary lactase deficiency develops over time and begins after about age 2 when the body begins to produce less lactase. Most children who have lactase deficiency do not experience symptoms of lactose intolerance until late adolescence or adulthood.
What’s nice, though, is that dairy products in certain contexts don’t seem to bother me. For instance, I had pizza a few days ago, and didn’t have a problem with the cheese on top. I thought maybe it had something to do with the cheese being cooked, but apparently not: pancakes made with mix and milk are a no no, as is oatmeal nuked with milk. It will be interesting to keep experimenting and to determine what affects me and what doesn’t.
Overall, I think this discovery will involve a minimal lifestyle change. As you can see above, I bought my lactose free milk at the grocery store today, and am looking forward to trying it out tomorrow.
Mostly, though, I’m glad that I’m not allergic to gluten (like my darling sister, who is much more of a champ about it than I would be). Giving up baked goods would be much more of a blow.