Lactose intolerance management

Patient

Q: I am allergic to milk. Does this mean I must stay away from all milk products including yoghurt, butter, cheese, etc.? Also should I stay away from items that have milk solids like biscuits, etc.? I get allergic nasal polyps when I consume milk.

Doctor

A:   Lactose intolerance is a common problem worldwide, where patients must avoid milk and dairy products to improve symptoms. Lactose can be excluded from the diet until symptoms resolve, usually at least 4 weeks. Dietetic advice should be sought to ensure nutritional adequacy of the diet. Lactose intolerance should be confirmed with a lactose challenge and the development of symptoms. There are few guidelines on how to manage lactose intolerance but the mainstay of management would be complete avoidance initially, for at least a 4 week period, of all lactose containing products. Following this lactose-containing products should be introduced as tolerated, by individual symptoms and to ensure the diet is not being restricted unnecessarily.

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