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  • Scott Adams
    Scott Adams

    How is lactose intolerance related to celiac disease?*

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    Lactose intolerance is frequently a side effect of celiac disease. Celiacs who eat gluten become lactose intolerant after the villi and microvilli in their small intestine become damaged, and are no longer capable of catching and breaking down the lactose molecule. The problem usually disappears when celiacs remove gluten from their diet, which allows the damaged villi and microvilli to grow back. Lactose intolerance symptoms can continue for a long time after a celiac has gone on a 100% gluten-free diet. In some cases the villi and microvilli damage can take up to two years to heal completely, but in most cases it takes between six months and a year. Most people who are lactose intolerant can usually eat goat and sheep (feta) cheeses without any problems.


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    Guest Carol Phillips

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    My mom, sister, and 2 aunts have celiac disease. I am lactose intolerant but as long as I stay on that diet I do not have any symptoms. Recently I had a positive Lupus test which then came back negative the 2nd time. I asked my doctor to test me for celiac and he did but the blood test came back as I did not have it. I am cold all the time and my family feels these are signs of celiac and that many people get false test results. Has anyone else had this or similar experiences that can offer me some advice? I do not want to be causing hard to my body and have future effects from it, but I also don't want to go on an expensive diet if I don't have to. I am 35 and have been lactose intolerant since I was about 23. Thank you for any insight!

    My nephew was recently diagnosed with Muckle-Wells disease. His symptoms were hives (since birth), joint pain, chills and eventually partial loss of hearing and eyesight. He's 25 and has never had anyone put all the symptoms together until now. It's a rare disease and not recognized by most physicians.

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    I wish restaurant owners would read this. So many of the gluten free options in restaurants contain dairy.

    I totally agree. Even when family try to accommodate me for picnics and barbecues, they are disappointed when they go out of their way to find gluten-free foods, but find out I can't eat them because of the lactose intolerance.

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    I have been diagnosed for two years and am 100% loyal to my gluten-free diet (not including accidental cross contamination). I am also on a high salt/high protein diet for a heart condition. I have been consuming Greek yogurt for a lot of that protein. After looking at this site, I am going to greatly decrease my intake of dairy to see if there are any further improvements to my health. For those who are new on the gluten-free diet....hang in there. You will go through a "mourning phase", and a "denial phase", and an "anger phase", but eventually you will be at "acceptance" and you will find that when people are around you consuming those cookies and doughnuts, you really don't care anymore, because you know how much better you feel now over the past life with gluten. I have been on the diet loyally for two years, minus one day when we celebrated out anniversary, our should I say, I ruined our anniversary, and I am not even tempted. There are things I miss, but not enough to return to the pain and illness.

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    I totally agree. Even when family try to accommodate me for picnics and barbecues, they are disappointed when they go out of their way to find gluten-free foods, but find out I can't eat them because of the lactose intolerance.

    Lactose intolerance and celiac disease are NO fun. Shocking when dieticians from reputable hospital recommend a product and upon looking at the ingredient list it contained milk powder! They don't get it and it's very frustrating as a patient!

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    My mom, sister, and 2 aunts have celiac disease. I am lactose intolerant but as long as I stay on that diet I do not have any symptoms. Recently I had a positive Lupus test which then came back negative the 2nd time. I asked my doctor to test me for celiac and he did but the blood test came back as I did not have it. I am cold all the time and my family feels these are signs of celiac and that many people get false test results. Has anyone else had this or similar experiences that can offer me some advice? I do not want to be causing hard to my body and have future effects from it, but I also don't want to go on an expensive diet if I don't have to. I am 35 and have been lactose intolerant since I was about 23. Thank you for any insight!

    I have been diagnosed with celiac by my naturopath. I am staying far away from doctors as all of them have told me according to my blood test that I am not a celiac sufferer even though I have all the symptoms. Since I have been gluten soy and dairy free I feel fantastic. Do not trust the blood tests as most are not very correct and if you did not have much gluten in your diet on the day or day before your blood test it can come back negative.

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  • About Me

    Celiac.com's Founder and CEO, Scott was diagnosed with celiac disease  in 1994, and, due to the nearly total lack of information available at that time, was forced to become an expert on the disease in order to recover. Scott launched the site that later became Celiac.com in 1995 "To help as many people as possible with celiac disease get diagnosed so they can begin to live happy, healthy gluten-free lives."  In 1998 he founded The Gluten-Free Mall which he sold in 2014. He is co-author of the book Cereal Killers, and founder and publisher of Journal of Gluten Sensitivity.

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