How can I tell if she's Lactose Intolerant or allergic to Dairy (Casein)?

Laurie - posted on 02/26/2009 ( 16 moms have responded )

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My daughter is getting ready to turn 1, and I've known since she was a few weeks old that she couldn't have dairy, because I had to cut it out of my diet. The lactation consultant told me then that her body couldn't break down the casein protein. So far, her pediatrician hasn't been too helpful, and I'm at a loss as to what to do.

From what I've read, both indicate that the body is having difficulty braking down the parts of dairy. One is sugars, and the other is milk. My daughter will break out in hives if she has much dairy, and even if I feed her a little, she has an extremely hard time having a bowel movement. She just sits there and screams, and I can't do anything to help her. I've been assuming it was a dairy allergy because of what the lactation consultant told me. But now I'm not sure if it's and allergy or just an intolerance.

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Anne - posted on 08/26/2009

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An intolerance cannot cause hives, hives = allergy. You need to bring her to a board certified allergist for testing and a prescription for epinephrine. Reactions can change at any time, so what is hives now could be something more severe next time, and no matter how diligent you are about keeping her dairy free, accidents happen and you need to be armed with epinephrine just in case.
Also, check out kidswithfoodallergies.org. It's an awesome support group and info site for parents of food allergic children.

Becky - posted on 02/26/2009

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hi my daughter was diagnosed about two years agoafter suffering from gastroenteritis and she is lactose intolerant i found it hard to gain information on it as each child reacts differently . my daughtersuffers with tummy cramps and diorhea if she has just a little dairy and she also has an intolarance to soya.she now sees a dietician who has been really helpful and i find most products in a local supermarket however you still need to read the ingrediants and you may be surprised as to what cantains dairy. i find it easier to make everythin homemade as that way i know exactly whats in it and i just freeze it till needed . please feel free to ask me anything and i hope this helps

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Lori - posted on 04/14/2013

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Hi Claire!

Have you tried to eliminate any foods?

Since you say the diarrhea has been back since he's been on cows milk, I'd say taking him off milk and ALL milk products would be a good place to start. It can take more than 2 weeks to get the milk proteins out of your system, so give it AT LEAST that long.

When my younger daughter turned 1 I also started her on whole milk. She began puking daily. When I took her to the Dr, I was told it was most likely just reflux and was given a prescription for Zantac. It didn't help. Luckily, I ran into my LC while running some errands and happened to mention this to her. She suggested it could be a milk allergy. I decided I didn't have anything to loose by trying. So I started by removing the obvious sources - milk, cheese, yogurt, sour cream, etc. And she started getting better. Then I started avoiding all the hidden dairy too - thing like bread and crackers that are made with milk, and so many many other foods. She stopped vomiting, and other things cleared up that I hadn't even thought could be related. She'd been congested on and off since birth. That cleared right up. We'd had some very bad diaper rash, which also cleared right up, and I noticed her BM's become much more solid. At 1 she was still having very wet poos. Looking back it makes more sense now. But my Dr, never suggested milk allergy, even though I'd been in with the congestion, and in with the vomiting. And after doing tons of internet research into the milk allergy issue I'm pretty sure she has a milk protein intolerance. (still not lactose intolerance). The difference seems to be that in an intolerance it's the digestive system acting up, where as in an allergy, it's the immune system. Either way though, the answer is to avoid the offending food.

And... to complicate matters, after finding out that my younger daughter has the milk allergy, I took my older daughter off milk as well. Her persistent reflux has now cleared up. It would seem that my older one is also intolerant... but just not as severely.

Claire Marie - posted on 03/22/2013

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Hi there my son has just turned 1 last week,
I have had him back and forward to my gp god knows how many times since the age of about 6 months as he suffers really bad with diarhea and sickness the sickness has now gone but the diarhea hasn't,
The gp told me to leave him for upto 10 days to see if it went which it didn't,
We went back and he said he could be temporary lactose intolorent and I was to take him to be weighed when we got him weighed he had only put on 1 ounce in 8 wks which the health visitor obviously wasn't happy with so referred us back to gp,
He then told us to take him to be weighed every 2 weeks but at next weigh in he had put on over 1 pound and the diarhea was gone,
But it kept coming back the gp then said just to keep an eye on how his nappies where,
He's now on cows milk and ever since I started him on that the diarhea has been back with only a couple of solid stools its been about 4 weeks,
If anyone has any help it would be greatfully appreciated.
Thanks claire.

Jessica - posted on 04/11/2010

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i went and got some books from the library about recipes for my child as she has an allergy to milk and i think this one might b of benefit to u the "LACTOSE-FREE FAMILY COOKBOOK" by marsha rosen R.D. nutritional consultant

Jessica - posted on 04/03/2010

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Lactose intolerance is the body's inability to break down lactose. If she gets hives it sounds more of allergic reaction to dairy not a lactose intolerance. My son is lactose intolerant and he gets the stomach ache and stools get funky (color mainly now that he's older).

Jennifer - posted on 09/14/2009

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That is very similar to my little girl. From 2 weeks I knew I couldn't have milk products since it bothered her so badly, When I cut it out she was a totally different baby. Nearing 1 year we decided we would try to introduce milk into her diet again, Same symptoms, although she also gets weazy/mucousy and coughs when she has milk products. Our family dr. did not seem to concerned and told us that she should grow out of it with time. I pushed for a referral to a pediatric allergy specialist, I am hoping we will find out if this is a true allergy or an intolerance. I Think just to ease your mind you should see an allergy specialist. It will help answer some questions you have about it. Currently she is supplementing with special formula and Rice Drink ( whole grain brown rice drink) any recipe I have that calls for Milk I substitute and use the Rice Drink.... I'm in the same situaton and just waiting until Oct for our allergy specialist appointment. Good luck with it

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Wow, your story sounds familiar...That was us about five years ago. Our pediatrician really under-reacted to all our son's increasing symptoms (eczema, diarhea, vomitting, hives, lips swelling). To make a long story short, our 1 yr old ended up having a sudden anaphylactic reaction while we were out of town at a restaurant. Thankfully, we were just one block from a pediatric hospital. It was the scariest day of my life.



If I knew then what I know now, I would have taken my son to a pediatric allergist much sooner. They can quickly determine what your daughter has. I don't know why all pediatricians do not respond to the symptoms of allergies. Whether they are not educating themselves about it or they do not take it seriously, I am not sure. Currently, we go to both a great pediatrician and allergist. When we finally knew that our son had a dairy allergy (as well as other food allergies), we were able to get the information & medications we needed to take care of him.



Best wishes to you and your daughter!

BrendaLee - posted on 09/10/2009

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My daughter is now 13, and carries an Epi-pen. I'm an old pro at this, LOL Please do not hesitate to contact me about how to prepare for eating out at restaurants, birthday parties, etc.

BrendaLee - posted on 09/10/2009

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The difference?
Hives, shortness of breath, digestive complaints, and especially swelling and itchiness of the tongue and mouth are warning signs of a severe food allergy which, if left untreated, can progress to anaphylactic shock. Lactose intolerance, however, involves primarily diarrhea and nausea. My daughter began to lose weight while I was breastfeeding despite the frequency of feedings and cutting dairy out of my diet as much as possible. Putting her on a milk-based formula made her break out in hives around her mouth, so until her second birthday, she was on a special formula. Dairy allergy can be just as severe as a peanut allergy, but people tend to think that you can outgrow it or that it is more of an inconvenience than a true emergency.

Please, I cannot express enough how serious this is, and that the trouble is not inability to break down proteins, but an immune response in which your child's body is being attacked. Stick to your guns, and contact another pediatrician if this one proves unwilling to listen.

Visit the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network for more information. It's been extremely helpful to me over the years. http://www.foodallergy.org/

Lily - posted on 09/09/2009

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my son is deathly alergic to glutin,milk,soy, lactad milk,ricemilk,and egg. befree4me.com is my friend it has everything and ther is a goup on yahoo, they never outgrow it I have it and if she has it you or the dad have it. the best bet take her for alergi testing! get all the tests under the moon for all allergis and nonfat or skim is not healthy for anyone.
good luck

Jessica - posted on 08/14/2009

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Hi, my son was diagnosed with lactose intolerance. Anything that has lactose in it he can't have. He is not allergic to milk b/c he does just fine with lactose free milk. My son gets upset tummy and his stools are softer than normal when he does have dairy products.

Jenny - posted on 08/11/2009

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Hi Laurie, My bub is 6mths old and I had him diagnosed as Lactose Intolerant at 8wks old. Not sure where you are from but I am in Australia and it was the 4th doctor before I got one that would do a test. I insisted that it was my right. I just had to give him lactose (breastfeed) and then take sample of the stool that came after the pains. I am going to an Allergy Paediatrican on 20th August so I will update on my profile what info I get. I have him on lactose free formula but there are also drops you can get to put into milk to break down the sugars that they can't digest. I am considering starting a website (if I knew how) with the info I have learnt. If only I knew back then. There is not much info about Lactose intolerance.

Darlajean - posted on 08/09/2009

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Please go to www.saddleup4healthylife.com It help all my childern and me. Read everything on the web-site and listern to the Video. Dr. William Sears, MD FRCP is wonderful Pediation. Their are so many Doctors that support The Free Childerns Research Foundation, it Blessed us. Darlajean

Sarah - posted on 03/02/2009

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I'm not sure I can be helpful but I can tell you my daughter's symptoms....every time she ate something with dairy/casein in it, she would break out in hives around her mouth or on her wrists where it touched her.  She took formula mixed with breast milk ok but when it came time for real milk there was no way, it came back up.  She was sent to the allergist (after a severe reaction to peanut butter) and tested for all sorts of things.  Milk & Casein came back positive (as well as peanuts and tree nuts).  I would suggest getting some allergy tests done on her. When they are babies, they don't fear the testing like an older child who knows does!  It's just a pinprick on their back for each thing they test for.  They did hers in a rack of 6 at once!  It's very helpful too to have a baseline if they do bloodwork to see if her "numbers" are going up or down and if she is possibly growing out of it.  We just did a retest and her milk sensitivity isn't nearly what it was two years ago.  Good luck! 

Virginia - posted on 02/26/2009

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My daughter has a non-IgE Hypersensitivity to soy and dairy. So not a casein allergy and not a lactose intolerance. She cannot have any dairy lactose free or not, or any soy or any rice products.

Her reaction to these products is violent vomiting, diarrhoea and stomach pain.

She also gets eczema.

http://mspikids.info/

The above website has information on symptoms of Milk Soy Protein Intolerance kids. They include symptoms that sound like your daughter's bowel movements - but hives is a symptom of a traditional allergic reaction.

Hope this helps. If you do a search for Milk-soy protein intolerance, there are also links to cookbooks and other advice.

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