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      Frequently Asked Questions About Celiac Disease   09/30/2015

      This Celiac.com FAQ on celiac disease will guide you to all of the basic information you will need to know about the disease, its diagnosis, testing methods, a gluten-free diet, etc.   Subscribe to Celiac.com's FREE weekly eNewsletter   What are the major symptoms of celiac disease? Celiac Disease Symptoms What testing is available for celiac disease?  Celiac Disease Screening Interpretation of Celiac Disease Blood Test Results Can I be tested even though I am eating gluten free? How long must gluten be taken for the serological tests to be meaningful? The Gluten-Free Diet 101 - A Beginner's Guide to Going Gluten-Free Is celiac inherited? Should my children be tested? Ten Facts About Celiac Disease Genetic Testing Is there a link between celiac and other autoimmune diseases? Celiac Disease Research: Associated Diseases and Disorders Is there a list of gluten foods to avoid? Unsafe Gluten-Free Food List (Unsafe Ingredients) Is there a list of gluten free foods? Safe Gluten-Free Food List (Safe Ingredients) Gluten-Free Alcoholic Beverages Distilled Spirits (Grain Alcohols) and Vinegar: Are they Gluten-Free? Where does gluten hide? Additional Things to Beware of to Maintain a 100% Gluten-Free Diet What if my doctor won't listen to me? An Open Letter to Skeptical Health Care Practitioners Gluten-Free recipes: Gluten-Free Recipes
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DistressedNewbie

Feeling Lactose Intolerance, But Nothing From Gluten

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Hi everyone,

 
I have heard before that Celiac disease can make one lactose intolerant over time due to intestinal damage. 
 
I have never been lactose intolerant, at least with symptoms, when I was younger (I am now 20) but now I can't eat even a single slice of cheese without getting either lots of gas, acid reflux or even cramping and diarrhea.
 
I feel the effects of eating dairy instantaneously. Yet if I were to just eat a product containing gluten, such as a slice of bread, I get no symptoms at all. If my lactose intolerance is caused by damage from Celiac's, shouldn't I also feel symptoms from the gluten as well? How can I feel just the lactose intolerance but nothing from the gluten?
 
Thanks!

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It is possible that you could be a 'silent' or 'latent' celiac.  That is to say, you have the damage in your small intestine but gluten does not present any recognizable symptoms for you.  The lactose intolerance would fit in with this diagnosis, because the damage gluten does in the small intestine temporarily destroys the ability of the gut to produce the enzyme that digests lactose.  It is not until gluten is withdrawn and the gut has healed that the enzyme production can resume.  Until then the lactose will sit in your gut and ferment and produce gas and cause cramping pain and diarrhea.

 

I still feel that you need to be tested, possibly with the endo with biopsies, because the of up-in-the-air diagnosis. :)

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This was exactly me.  I could eat all the gluten I wanted without feeling ill whatsoever.  But cheese, milk and ice cream?  No way!  I was able to ingest some cheese for awhile but am back to eating lactose-free cheese and aged cheese very occasionally.  Lactose gave me greater problems than gluten until a couple of months ago when I finally had a gluten reaction after being gluten free for nearly two years!  That reaction was not nice.  It was an accidental glutening, of course, and I felt it.

 

We have different reactions to different things and must be detectives to figure stuff out at times.  But yes, to answer your question, it certainly is possible to feel more ill from lactose than gluten.  It definitely happened to me!

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Is gluten intolerance the main reason for lactose intolerance as well?

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The enzymes necessary for digesting dairy are created in the small intestine -- celiac disease can impede this and make it difficult to digest lactose, all dairy or other foods until the digestive system has had a chance to heal.  If someone is or has had trouble with dairy it a good idea to remove for a period of time and then reintroduce.

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Is gluten intolerance the main reason for lactose intolerance as well?

 

It is--in the case of celiac and It can occur as a result of other intestinal diseases such as gastroenteritis and an IBD like Crohn's disease. Treatment of the underlying disorder may restore lactase levels and improve signs and symptoms, though it can take some time.

As Shroom and Ski have pointed out, if the villi are blunted, the lactase enzyme production is decreased. 

Most celiacs get dairy back. Some never do.

 

Some people actually have hereditary lactose intolerance.

Congenital lactase deficiency, also called congenital alactasia, is a disorder in which infants are unable to break down lactose in breast milk or formula. This form of lactose intolerance results in severe diarrhea. If affected infants are not given a lactose-free infant formula, they may develop severe dehydration and weight loss.

 

The key is figuring out what's CAUSING it.

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I've developed my lactose intolerance after my mid 20's. I never did get tested for gluten. We've just been eating gluten free because of my wife's intolerance. Maybe worth testing myself as well.

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