While the most absolute method of managing lactose intolerance is to limit or eliminate your lactose consumption, this is easier said than done. Many people discover that they are lactose intolerant because they have a love for foods that cause them stomach discomfort, and it can be difficult giving up the foods you love in order to reduce your lactose intolerance symptoms. Rest assured that no matter how much you love your milk products, there is still hope for managing your symptoms without sacrificing your food pleasures.
For those who love the taste of milk and cheese and don’t want to give them up (or replace them with milk and cheese alternatives), there are lactose-reduced versions of many popular dairy products, such as milk, yogurt, and cheese. These products are exactly like the “real thing” – except that they have been treated with lactase, the enzyme responsible for breaking down the lactose in your digestive system. They can be quite a bit more expensive than untreated products because of the enzymes, but their taste is unparalleled by any other replacement milk products since they start out identical to their non-treated counterparts.
You can also purchase separate lactase supplements, such as Lactaid and Puritan’s Pride Super Lactase. These supplements are taken before consuming products that you know (or suspect) may have lactose in them, and they compensate for the body’s inability to create lactase on its own. If only one person in your household suffers from lactose intolerance and you do not wish to purchase treated milk products for the whole family, this is a simple and shelf-stable way to prevent your symptoms from interfering with your life while still eating the foods you enjoy.
Alternately, you can decide to find out exactly what amount of lactose is appropriate for you, and limit your intake to a lower amount. This is by far the cheapest option for managing your lactose intolerance, as you do not have to make any special purchases, although it is one of the most difficult options to execute as it takes diligence and careful planning.
Whatever you decide, know that you are not alone in your desire to manage your lactose intolerance. You may be able to find support groups online to share your experience with others and learn from those who are more versed in lactose intolerance management options.