Dairy sensitivities can show up in numerous ways from digestive issues to acne! Find out if you should be eliminating dairy from your diet.
The difference between intolerance and allergy
First off, a dairy intolerance and an allergy are not exactly the same thing. An allergy is more serious in nature, because it has to do with the immune system. The symptoms could include loose stools, abdominal cramps, wheezing, hives, vomiting, coughing, watery eyes, itchy skin rash (usually around the mouth), and diarrhea. If you suspect, you have a dairy allergy, it’s best to consult your doctor. However, if you have a dairy intolerance, you may be able to try an elimination diet.
The symptoms of a dairy intolerance
A dairy intolerance is considered less severe, and can be related to a sensitivity to lactose (milk sugar) or casein (milk protein). You could have a sensitivity to one and not the other. In fact, you may even find you can tolerate certain dairy products, but not others. Here are some signs to look for:
- Acne: If you’re suffering from breakouts, you may want to consider cutting out the dairy. Dairy can trigger acne. After doing an elimination diet you could find that your skin looks much clearer.
- Headaches: There are multiple things that can cause headaches from more serious reasons to less severe. And dairy just happens to be one of them. It may even trigger a migraine.
- Digestive issues: Dairy can cause diarrhea, bloating, constipation, and abdominal pain. Of course, digestive issues can be caused by other food allergies, not drinking enough water, or more serious reasons. But, trying a dairy elimination diet might not be such a bad idea if you’re suffering from any of the above.
- Skin rash: If you’ve been dealing with a skin rash, and no one seems to be able to figure out what the cause is, you may want to try eliminating dairy. It can be a trigger for the itches.
- Seasonal Allergies: Have you been dealing with a running nose or other seasonal allergy related symptoms? Believe it or not, but if you have an intolerance and you’re consuming dairy, you may be exasperating your symptoms.
What to do if you suspect you have an intolerance
If you’ve been nodding your head going through the list above, it may be time to do something about it. For an intolerance, you can do a dairy elimination diet. Try eliminating any products that contain dairy for 2-3 weeks. Take note if your symptoms seem to go away over time. Then when you reintroduce dairy after the 2-3-week mark, make sure you watch to see if the symptoms reappear. Once you’ve discovered if you have a dairy intolerance, you can play with different types of dairy products or even sources (such as cow versus goat, hard cheeses versus soft cheeses etc.). Because you could find you only have issues with certain dairy products. Giving up dairy for a few weeks may sound scary, but if it helps you discover what is causing your symptoms, it’s more than worth it.