After about 3 months of being on the gluten free diet, I slowly started to feel better. A few months after that, I started to have debilitating pains and bloating and wondering if I was consuming small amounts of gluten. After cutting out restaurants and being vigilant about avoiding cross contamination, my boyfriend (a GP) mentioned that it might be lactose intolerance and suggested that I try taking Lactaid pills before I consume dairy.
I took them, and it worked. For a few months anyways. I started to worry about what that could mean – had I developed a dairy allergy? Why would my newly developed lactose intolerance increase as I healed from the damage to my intestines? From what I’ve read, it’s really the other way around.
I’ve done some research since then and based on my findings, I’m pretty sure I’m only lactose intolerant and not allergic to dairy (I’m crossing my fingers!) So this morning, I tried “lactose removed” milk and voila – no pains or bloating! I’m going to continue to drink that with my cereal and tea for the month, and cut back on my other dairy intake and see how I’m feeling. Apparently things like yogurt and hard cheese contain less lactose than milk, so I’m hoping it’s only milk that I’ll have to cut out! We’ll see..
What are your experiences with lactose intolerance and celiac disease? Did you develop an intolerance? Did it improve or get worse? I’m interested to hear about it!
Here’s what Celiac.com had to say about the link between lactose intolerance and celiac disease:
Lactose intolerance is frequently a side effect of celiac disease. Celiacs who eat gluten become lactose intolerant after the villi and microvilli in their small intestine become damaged, and are no longer capable of catching and breaking down the lactose molecule. The problem usually disappears when celiacs remove gluten from their diet, which allows the damaged villi and microvilli to grow back. Lactose intolerance symptoms can continue for a long time after a celiac has gone on a 100% gluten-free diet. In some cases the villi and microvilli damage can take up to two years to heal completely, but in most cases it takes between six months and a year. Most people who are lactose intolerant can usually eat goat and sheep (feta) cheeses without any problems.
I also found this quote on the Tri-County Celiac Support Group website:
Lactose Intolerance: If you recently found you have Celiac Disease, you are likely to also have lactose intolerance (inability to digest milk sugar). Fortunately, for most people, this will clear up after 2-12 months on a gluten-free diet.
For lactose intolerance, talk to your doctor or registered dietitian about recommended diet. Many people can still eat yogurt and hard cheeses but have to limit the milk in the diet. Others with sever lactose intolerance need to eliminate all foods, supplements and medications that contain lactose.
If you have any thoughts or links to additional resources regarding lactose intolerance and Celiac disease, please feel free to leave them in the comments below!