Lactose Tolerance Tests

Lactose Intolerance Testing

A lactose intolerance test is a diagnostic test to measure the body’s reaction to lactose, a common sugar found in many dairy products. The test is typically used to identify if the individual has an intolerance to lactose or may have a condition called lactase deficiency, which is the inability to naturally digest lactose. Lactose intolerance can cause abdominal pain, gas, bloating, nausea and diarrhea.

Preparation For the Test

There is usually no specific preparation required for the test; however, it is important to inform the healthcare provider of any medications you are taking, such as antibiotics, as they can interfere with the test results.

Procedure and Types

A lactose intolerance test requires drinking a solution containing lactose. This is usually done at a clinic or in a laboratory, and is often referred to as a “lactose tolerance test.” In some cases, a breath test will also be conducted, which involves testing the breath for hydrogen and methane gas after drinking the lactose solution. This test is known as the “hydrogen breath test.”

Risks and Complications

The risks and complications associated with the lactose intolerance test are relatively rare and usually minor. However, some individuals may experience an adverse reaction to the lactose solution, including nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhea, as these symptoms are similar to the symptoms of lactose intolerance.

Why Is The Test Done?

The lactose intolerance test is done to diagnose the condition, as well as to assess the severity of the lactose intolerance. It is important to determine the severity of the intolerance, as some individuals may not need to eliminate dairy products from their diet completely, while others may need to limit their consumption of dairy products in order to prevent symptoms.

When Is The Test Done?

The test is usually done when other tests, such as a physical exam, blood tests and a food journal, have failed to identify the cause of abdominal symptoms. Some individuals may be advised to take the test when their family has a history of lactose intolerance or if they have a diagnosed condition such as irritable bowel syndrome, celiac disease or Crohn’s disease.