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  • Jefferson Adams

    How is Lactose Intolerance Related to Celiac Disease?

    Jefferson Adams
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    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

      Once the damaged villi and microvilli to grow back, and the gut heals, the sensitivity to lactose often disappears.


    Many newly diagnosed celiacs cannot digest lactose for a while. Image: CC BY 2.0--Senado Federal
    Caption: Many newly diagnosed celiacs cannot digest lactose for a while. Image: CC BY 2.0--Senado Federal

    Celiac.com 03/12/2020 - Lactose intolerance is one of the most common food intolerances. Many people with celiac disease also have lactose intolerance, especially at the time they are first diagnosed.

    Lactose intolerance happens when the gut fails to produce enough lactase, and enzyme that breaks down the lactose sugar in milk. Lactose intolerance can be inherited, but it can also happen as people get older and their bodies produce less lactase. Studies consistently shows that only about one in three people worldwide can digest lactose beyond seven or eight years of age.



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    Celiacs who eat gluten can become lactose intolerant after the villi and microvilli in their small intestine become damaged, and can no longer intercept and break down lactose molecules. 

    However, most people recover on a gluten-free diet. Once the damaged villi and microvilli to grow back, and the gut heals, the sensitivity to lactose often disappears. This can take time.  In most people, full gut healing takes between six months and a year.

    In some cases the villi and microvilli damage can take up to two years to heal fully. In any case, once the gut heals, lactose intolerance issues should disappear.

    Also, most people who are lactose intolerant can eat goat and sheep products, such as milk, yogurt and cheeses, such as feta and pecorino Romano, without any problems. Many people with lactose intolerance can also consume raw, unpasteurized dairy without symptoms. 

    Links to Goat, Sheep, and Raw Cow Milk Products 

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    I have taken the york test for food allergies and come back intolerant to dairy and wheat/gluten. I believe I do not suffer from celiac disease but I am possibly lactose intolerant. This is a really rubbish situation as I'm sure a lot of you know. I am in my early teens and the thought of facing these awful skin outbreaks (I get the red dry flaky patches as mentioned further up and also a rash that covers most of my body, I also get recurring ear infections) really gets me down a lot. I am interested to find out more about these lactaid pills and if they could help me in any way.

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    I have tested for celiac through blood work and biopsy, both negative. However, I have the symptoms and feel better avoiding gluten. I have excluded dairy and now feel that almost normal again, excluding the feeling of constant hunger. I avoid gluten and dairy and take a digestive enzyme but still feel constant starving. Does anyone feel this way after changing their diet? What else can be done to gain nutritional satisfaction?

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    Great site! I'm lactose, soy, and gluten intolerant. I also have to be careful with fiber (eating too many vegetables). Most packed foods cause me to dump. I live and carry immodium all the time. Never sure what to eat?

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    Wonder if anyone would have help for us here - my husband was diagnosed w/celiac 2 yrs. ago, and has done wonderful in eliminating gluten from his diet. About 2 weeks ago he began to have some of the same symptoms again - namely dermatitis herpetiformis & hearing loss -- only this time it is more widespread over his body. He is miserable and desperate for relief, which doctors. are working on - but wonder if anyone else has experienced the same relapse after being gluten-free for a couple of years and a complete cessation of symptoms?. Lactose & dairy haven't been a problem.

    There is another form of celiac disease out there called refractory sprue. Basically from what I have read about it, treatment is eating a more natural diet of fresh fruits and veggies... no processed foods. I am not sure how it is diagnosed but it is out there and very rare.

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    It seems I have become lactose intolerant. I believe I have been for a while. I am 62. So you think I should be tested for celiac disease to make sure that the lactose intolerance isn't the result of celiac?

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    I have tested for celiac through blood work and biopsy, both negative. However, I have the symptoms and feel better avoiding gluten. I have excluded dairy and now feel that almost normal again, excluding the feeling of constant hunger. I avoid gluten and dairy and take a digestive enzyme but still feel constant starving. Does anyone feel this way after changing their diet? What else can be done to gain nutritional satisfaction?

    Did you try the Cybrex test out of Arizona? It is a very comprehensive gluten intolerant test.

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    I was diagnosed with celiac just over a year ago and just today was told I am probably lactic intolerant. I haven't been tested yet, that happens next week. I will know more after the test and hope to feel better soon. I am sick and tired of feeling this bad. I am so good about gluten, but still sick. I am 72.

     

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    I was diagnosed with coeliac disease in 2007, but have only recently started having issues with lactose. From reading all the other comments, I think it's safe to say that everybody is different and your symptoms may occur at different times.

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    OMG I had shingles last summer - got Prednisone. Felt energy for the first time in a decade! Shingles gone, mouth sores gone, happy, eat gluten free healthy just fine. Then, NOT ONE DOCTOR WILL GIVE ME PREDNISONE AGAIN? I'm "60"...not the drugie type: just want to have my immune system calm. Considering going to Mexico to get PREDNISONE to feel alive again. Any advice? I am miserable and fatigued 24/7. help.

    Cameo, please be careful with prednisone, it is like a miracle drug and makes you feel so much better but if used for too long it causes a lot of other damage to your system. This happened to my mother. She wanted to stay on it forever and it ended up causing her bones to weaken and she developed osteoporosis. I don't know if you will see this post as it appears I am replying two years later but good luck with your health issues and please be careful with prednisone.

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    I'm 16 and haven't been diagnosed with celiac yet, but am being tested. I have just recently cut all gluten out of my diet and I was better the next day. I realized that dairy affects me as well, but was wondering if anyone has had pain in their veins. My grandma is a RN and said it was because my stomach could be leaking into my blood stream. Just wondering if it had anything to do with celiac disease?

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    I've been diagnosed with celiac for 3 months, now the severe stomach bloating, even after going on a lactose free diet, I don't know what else to do, I am very miserable...any suggestions?

    If you replaced dairy with soy milk, it could be the soy. It gives some people severe gas too.

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    I am a coeliac (15 years) and I have tried so many times to bring milk into my diet (for the health benefits) it's not funny. UHT trim milk almost works a bit but mucus still develops eventually and a general tiredness after consumption.Rotating food helps a bit if that's possible. I look to get my calcium but eating sardines .I now its not conventional but a meat only diet including fish(well cook the red meat),vegetables , some fruit seems to work best for me. Uninspiring I know but survivable.Depending on your sensitivity I have found that after avoiding dairy the occasional diversion (once a month) can be tolerated.

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams is Celiac.com's senior writer and Digital Content Director. He earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,500 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in science, scientific methodology, biology, anatomy, medicine, logic, and advanced research. He previously served as SF Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.


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