nos-trum. pronunciation: \nos'-trum\. noun. Etymology: Latin, neuter of noster our, ours.
1. a medicine of secret composition recommended by its preparer but usually without scientific proof of its effectiveness.
2. a usually questionable remedy or scheme.
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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Lactose Intolerance Over-self-diagnosed

The National Institutes of Health think that too many people have diagnosed themselves, or that their doctor has diagnosed them, with lactose intolerance, a condition where the individual develops symptoms upon oral ingestion of lactose-containing products (i.e., milk, and milk-containing products).  It's true that this is one of those things where some people are REALLY intolerant and others are just mildly annoyed by it....and everywhere in between.  The classic symptoms are diarrhea, abdominal pain, and gas.  Some people just get a little gassy when they drink milk...that's probably not intolerance.

To be really intolerant, I would assume that any source of lactose would precipitate the symptoms.  However, I've frequently seen patients who profess to be intolerant, but have no trouble eating ice cream.  Consequently, we probably spend a lot more on soy products than we need to.

So, the NIH is probably right.  But do you care?  If drinking or eating certain things bother you, wouldn't it be better to just forget the consensus statements of experts and avoid the product?  We used to have this joke about military medicine that people would frequently come to the doctor and say "Doc, it hurts when I do this," and the therapeutic advice would be, "well, don't do that."  But, sometimes that makes sense.

Bottom line, if you think you're intolerant, well...you are.

Doc D

Opinions are entirely my own.

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