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What is the difference between lactose intolerance and a milk allergy?

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Lactose intolerance is when you can't digest lactose, the sugar found in dairy products. You'll often get symptoms like stomach pain, gas, and diarrhea. With a milk allergy, the symptoms affect more than just your digestive tract. A milk allergy is when your immune system thinks dairy is a foreign invader and attacks it by releasing chemicals called histamines. Symptoms can range from wheezing problems to vomiting and diarrhea.

From: Living With a Milk Allergy WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America: "Milk Allergy."

Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network: "Milk."

Food Allergy Initiative: "Milk Allergy."

GirlsHealth.gov: "Milk Allergy."

Go Ask Alice, Columbia University: "Milk allergy or lactose intolerance?"

Reviewed by Kathleen M. Zelman on May 7, 2019

SOURCES:

Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America: "Milk Allergy."

Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network: "Milk."

Food Allergy Initiative: "Milk Allergy."

GirlsHealth.gov: "Milk Allergy."

Go Ask Alice, Columbia University: "Milk allergy or lactose intolerance?"

Reviewed by Kathleen M. Zelman on May 7, 2019

NEXT QUESTION:

What dairy products should you avoid if you have a milk allergy?

WAS THIS ANSWER HELPFUL

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

    This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

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