For 21 years, I ate lactose just fine. It wasn’t until June 2008 that something changed drastically…No more lactose for me!
I was in Philadelphia for my best friend’s college graduation party with my boyfriend, Anthony. Anthony and I had some peanut butter crackers in our hotel room laying around so we decided to have a snack before we left for the party. …DUN DUN DUN!
Little did we know, those peanut butter crackers were being taken off the shelf for traces of salmonella. PROOF.
The two of us got horribly ill for about a week. After we felt better we decided to treat ourselves to a nice lunch down the cape at Brax Landing consisting of fried clams and a bowl of clam chowder! Yum! Right? WRONG.
Within 30 minutes of consuming my ‘oh so creamy’ bowl of clam chowder, I was running to the bathroom. Romantic date, eh?
I felt a bit better but wanted something to cool my stomach down so on the drive home from the cape we stopped at A&W to get root beer floats! YUM! Right? WRONG.
The entire drive home I felt bloated, gassy, nauseas and just down right icky. That’s when I knew I had a problem.
I went to my doctor and told her my symptoms but she just assumed I had Irritable Bowel Syndrome. I don’t blame her, most doctors assumed I had IBS as well because the symptoms are very alike. But something in my brain called foul. I decided to go ahead and get tested for lactose intolerance.
Find out ways to GET TESTED here.
My doctor gave me a very time consuming blood test. I had to get my blood drawn, drink some liquid, wait 30 minutes, get my blood drawn again, and drink some more liquid, wait 30 minutes then get my blood drawn again. I’m not a doctor but I think the point of this test is to see how my body is metabolizing the liquid. If I wasn’t lactose intolerant, the liquid would be dissolved very easily (the lactose enzyme would help digest it and my body could get rid of it). HOWEVER, the results came back to show that I was EXTREMELY lactose intolerant.
My doctor explained to me that when your body has to deal with something really intense (like a stomach flu, or in my case: salmonella poisoning), your stomach stops producing unnecessary enzymes. Your stomach does not need to digest lactose in order to survive, so it stops making those enzymes to help save yourself incase this was a life threatening illness. Bad news is, my stomach never started producing enzymes again! (My boyfriend on the other hand, is fine. Damn you Anthony!)
Here’s an analogy that I think makes it simple to understand: Let’s say your stomach has 10 lactose enzymes in your intestines. Let’s also say that it takes 5 lactose enzymes to digest one slice of pizza. If a NON lactose intolerant person eats a slice of pizza, those enzymes will see the lactose and jump on to help digest it. If you are a LITTLE BIT lactose intolerant, you might be able to have 2 slices of pizza…but once you eat that third slice of pizza your intestines go “HEY! WHAT IS THAT DAIRY STUFF? I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH IT! SENSORY OVERLOAD!” and then you feel bloated, gassy, and some even get ill.
I on the other hand, have zero lactose enzymes in my intestines. So the second I eat something that’s even been cooked in butter, I get sick. Good times.
It’s been about 4 years since I became lactose intolerant though, and I’ve learned how to live with it. It gets easier and easier, but it takes some getting used to. With my help, you should be able to Live Without Lactose just fine.