Has anyone developed a dairy allergy or intolerance as an adult?

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Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 58
   Posted 9/12/2012 5:38 PM (GMT -6)   
TMI alert.... For about two weeks, I have had issues with diarrhea, mainly after eating.  I have been eating a lot of dairy for the past month or so in an attempt to gain weight (my doctor thinks I lost weight just due to stress, breastfeeding, being sick several times in a row, etc.).  While I haven't tried an elimination diet or removing all foods that contain traces of dairy from my diet, there does seem to be some correlation between my symptoms and eating obvious dairy sources like cheese or yogurt.  I'm just starting to notice this so I will need to do some more experimenting with foods to confirm dairy is the problem.  My doctor is running some tests to rule out other conditions as well.  (And even if dairy is the problem, I've heard that certain types of bacterial infections can make you temporarily lactose intolerant, so there may be multiple issues going on.)
So, has anyone developed a dairy allergy or intolerance as an adult?  What were your symptoms and how were you diagnosed -- elimination diet, allergy tests? Did the symptoms start gradually or fairly sudden (mine were pretty sudden)?

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Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 5028
   Posted 9/12/2012 6:12 PM (GMT -6)   
Losing tolerance for lactose as an adult is common. I didn't have a problem until I was a mom of 4. I can tolerate a little yogurt, not the Greek kind though and not with extra additives. I am fine with lactose-free milk in any amount. I can also eat milk protein, whey, so I know it's the lactose. I don't tolerate cheese well.

Best thing to do is keep a good food diary. Date, time, what I eat, drink, medicines, and reactions. It's easy to have delayed reactions to lots of things, so the diary helps you to go back and see what might have triggered the symptoms. Some people with migraines get reactions up to two days after eating their trigger food.

If you need to go further you can do "challenge testing." I've described this in previous posts. Just enter the keywords in the search box at the top of the page.

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2012
Total Posts : 58
   Posted Yesterday 3:31 PM (GMT -6)   
I never had your symptoms, but my skin started itching...in weird places....tops of the feet, between my fingers, behind my ears, etc. I finally was allergy tested...I had some environmental allergies, but over 30+ food allergies out of 96, with dairy and eggs being the worst. I did allergy shots to "fix" the environmentals and have done them for 3 years, and will until 5 years. I haven't had one single episode of itching since probably midway through. So, treating the environmental allergies has also affected the foods...interestingly. I have NO foods I can't tolerate now!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 4415
   Posted 9/27/2012 5:57 AM (GMT -6)   
Lactose intolerance can be treated by taking a probiotic (acidophilus and other "friendly" bacteria that are normally present in the gut).

If you've been sick recently, have you been on antibiotics? I ask because antibiotics will kill some of the friendly bacteria in your gut and can cause overgrowth of yeast or c. difficile (bacteria), which can lead to diarrhea.

Probiotics are also needed to treat yeast overgrowth or c. difficile associated diarrhea.

Insurance may cover prescription strength VSL #3 (a strong probiotic)...or you can try to find a probiotic at a health food store. Get one that is kept in the refrigerator, they are usually more effective than non-refrigerated probiotics. And if you can swallow pills, get a probiotic that is enteric coated to protect the friendly bacteria from stomach acid, it will be more effective.

And yes, it is also possible to develop a dairy allergy at any age. But diarrhea by itself as a symptom points more to lactose intolerance or gut flora imbalance (C. Diff., Candida, etc.) than dairy allergy. But do get tested for milk allergy anyway to make sure.

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New Member

Date Joined Sep 2012
Total Posts : 11
   Posted 9/28/2012 4:07 AM (GMT -6)   
Yes, I did develop symptoms as an adult. In fact, it is very common for adults to develop lactose intolerance. Its hard to say if it came on suddenly, I think everyone tends to ingnore it for awhile, thinking its something else. They do however, sell lactose free milk, called lactaid. I even make ice cream with it. That may help you in your elimination diet. Good luck.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 5028
   Posted 9/29/2012 8:03 PM (GMT -6)   
It's certainly worthwhile doing some of your doc's tests and trying probiotics.

I tried probiotics. Since my lactose intolerance causes a gastric upset with loads of gas immediately, within a minute, after consuming it, they didn't help at all. That doesn't mean don't take probiotics. I still do. But I get relief only if I chew up about 4 - 6 lactase tablets a couple of minutes before taking the first bite/swallow of anything dairy.

Interestingly, I tolerate Activia yogurt to some degree, but I don't dare eat any of the others, especially the yummy Greek-style brands. Activia does get my intestines working, but it's nothing like the gas pains from a couple of bites of ice cream!

There used to be lactase drops you could put in a half gallon of milk. Unfortunately this seems not to be available now. I settle for the more expensive lactose-free milk in my coffee.

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 23551
   Posted 10/1/2012 8:11 AM (GMT -6)   
I developed an intolerance in my 30's but I think mine was due to all my gut issues. I was never officially diagnosed but when I avoid dairy, my gut settles down. My symptoms were bloating, diarrhea, and intestinal pain.
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New Member

Date Joined Dec 2013
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 12/4/2013 4:26 AM (GMT -6)   
Interesting forum site I just joined after reading this!!
The last year I have slowly developed lactose intolerant.
Started off drinking ice coffees every morning before work,
I'm 22 almost 23 , have been allergic to milk for the last 12months
Now I have just become allergic to cheese to, life is so unfair
All my favorite things I can't have now. I would like to know why
This is happening, is it that my body can't digest lumen anymore or?
Seen as my mothers a vegan I can already see that any dairy is bad for you, I have done a lot of research but this is getting to me

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2013
Total Posts : 1380
   Posted 12/4/2013 11:35 AM (GMT -6)   
Hello, I'm sorry for all your troubles.

I am lactose intolerant and wasn't until about 21 I hate it! I love strawberry icecream but can't have it n e more

Coca is hard too eat too.

My signs were gass, bloated, poops, upset stomach and more. My doc made the diagnosis by symptoms only.
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Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 5028
   Posted 12/4/2013 5:28 PM (GMT -6)   
Welcome Conlan. Hi S2S.

For me, at least, lactose intolerance doesn't mean strict avoidance of any trace of lactose. It's not like a peanut allergy. Intolerance is a quantity trigger.

However, if I have a glass of regular milk or eat a dish of ice cream, I must gobble 4 to 6 Lactase tablets BEFORE consumption. They don't work well after the dairy delight. Another remedy I have is drinking a small glass of lactose-free milk afterward, even after developing symptoms. I think there must be some lactase left free in the milk.

You might try eating a little cheese, some brands of yogurt. I don't tolerate cocoa even using lactose free milk, but that may be the sweeteners in the cocoa. I am sensitive to those too!

I do still enjoy my favorites!
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