Are GPs missing a trick when it comes to lactose intolerance?

Further to the report earlier in the year suggesting those who thought they might be lactose intolerant actually having IBS, (FM Over half of those who think they are lactose intolerant may just have IBS – May 2010), a new survey commissioned by Lactofree suggests that people who go to their doctor complaining of recurrent bouts of bloating, wind, nausea, diarrhoea and stomach cramps may be being diagnosed with IBS when what they’re suffering from is in fact lactose intolerance.

It is estimated that 20% of IBS cases may be lactose intolerance, and furthermore, since more than half of doctors describe this condition as dairy intolerance, many patients are at risk of missing out on the nutrients in dairy by eliminating dairy produce altogether, when all they need to do is avoid lactose…. The most common way of determining whether a patient has lactose intolerance is by cutting out all lactose containing products from their diet, followed by a period of gradual reintroduction to determine the levels of lactose that can be tolerated.

Only one in 10 GP surgeries in the country has an in-house dietician so the diagnosis of food allergies often falls to GPs, and due to the lack of tests to determine the difference between lactose intolerance and delayed milk protein allergy, many are being misdiagnosed.

Source: Medical News Today
Source: Lactofree

First published in December 2010

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