Lactose intolerance

We have just started a new poll about lactose intolerance. The reason for it stems from a discussion with a group of specialist dieticians who said that they did not see any or many patients with this problem after surgery. Which means, I think, that either nobody has trouble with drinking milk - or that it is a problem that people have solved without reference to the dieticians.

The reason we think that lactose intolerance is relevant is that lactase, that helps the body to absorb the lactose in milk / dairy products, is generated in the top part of the stomach which is quite often removed during the surgery. After the operation, we may well be eating porridge with full fat milk etc in order to put weight on, and this can create digestion problems. Trying milk that is lactose-free, or an alternative often has a really beneficial effect, we think.

We are trying to be a little bit systematic about the numbers involved, so please help us by entering the poll and adding any comments you think would be helpful.

Thanks very much


8 Replies

  • Hi Alan

    I definitely have a problem with milk now, I did mention it once during a session with a dietician but she didn't make any response to my question as to whether it could be the surgery, so I just decided myself to avoid dairy products. In fact that is true of many foods that seem to disagree with me, it is all trial and error for us all



  • Thanks - that is interesting to know.


  • Hiya Alan. I am 8 months since Oesophajectomy and I too have had same problem with Lactose. I changed my milk to lactose free for a short time then went bk to semi-skimmed. I can have it in my Tea but its a no go with cereals. I am pretty sure the problem isn't quite as bad as it was a few mths bk but that's prob due to me cutting back on certain foods. I aslo believe that the strong painkillers I take have helped with the problem. My dietician has been brilliant considering this aint a problem they deal with very often. Its interesting to know what u wrote on ure first post Alan. Learn something new about this every day.

  • Hi Alan fortunately for me i have and still do enjoy full fat milk without side affects 7 months post oesophagectomy and have become a cheeseaholic never having been interested pre diagnosis

  • It's early days for us Alan as my partners Ivor Lewis was only on the 16.4 - but he's got no problems with dairy or milk. He had half his stomach and half the oesophagus removed.

  • Yes I most certainly do.

  • I have just discovered that I am intolerant to lactose. I have had GORD for quite a few years and have only had trouble with fruit and veg of certain types eg tomatoes and particularly potatoes. But recently I have been feeling a lot of twinges of pain on my left side and the horrible nauseous clogged feeling in the back of my throat and discovered that the more I looked at my diet the more i could see that when i'd been eating items that had cream, butter or anything dairy the problem became obvious. Over the past week even very small amounts of dairy have triggered the nausea, stomach pain and general feelings of illness. I have now started taking Ranitidine again (I once took it years ago but it disagreed with me back then - seems ok now).

    So now I have to work out how to eat with it, how to adapt my diet, finding bread, cereals, sauces, etc with no milk products in.

  • Some people seem to change over to soya milk and it suits them; otherwise rice milk or other variations. I recently heard about A2 milk, and that might be worth exploring to see if it makes a difference. It can be quite complex to work out all the food that might be involved, and you get very adept at reading labels. There are ways of getting tested for food intolerance and allergies. I have heard that tomatoes can cause problems for quite a few people.

    I do not want to complicate things any more than they are already, but I am wondering whether it might feasibly be the sugar content of milk that might be causing problems, and perhaps the carbohydrate element of potatoes that generates sugar in the digestive system might be an issue? So concentrating on avoiding sugar and added sweeteners might also be an approach?

    If you can get yourself to a stable and comfortable state by avoiding anything that you think might be a risk, you will then be able to tell what causes a problem if you add things one at a time. You may need the help of a dietician and have to be very systematic. Good luck with it!

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