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37 years
Dear Doctor, I am 37 years old male. I used to eat cheese with no issues at all, and now all of the sudden every time i have cheese like sandwich I will have minor diarrhea . thanks
Mar 2, 2014

Dr. Rania Mousa General Medicine
Does this happened to you only of cheese or with milk and other milk products too,if it is only with a particular cheese ,then there is a recent sensitivity to an ingrediant found in this cheese making you the slight diarrhea .but if the symptom of all milk and milk products then the case is probably,lactose intolerance.
Lactose intolerance is an inability to digest lactose, the main sugar in milk, that gives rise to gastrointestinal symptoms.
It is is caused by a deficiency of the intestinal enzyme lactase that splits lactose into two smaller sugars, glucose and galactose, and allows lactose to be absorbed from the intestine.

The primary symptoms of lactose intolerance are:
diarrhea, flatulence (passing gas), and abdominal pain. Abdominal bloating, abdominal distention, and nausea also may occur.

Lactose intolerance can be diagnosed by eliminating lactose from the diet, milk challenge, breath test, blood glucose test, stool acidity test, and intestinal biopsy.
Lactose intolerance is treated with dietary changes, supplements of lactase enzyme, and adaptation to increasing amounts of milk.

Lactose intolerance is caused by reduced or absent activity of lactase that prevents the splitting of lactose (lactase deficiency). Lactase deficiency may occur for one of three reasons, congenital, secondary or developmental.

So you case might be because of a secondary cause such as a problem in the intestinal lining that destroy the lining of the small intestine along with the lactase. An example of such a disease is celiac sprue.
Or it might be of developmental cause meaning that a decrease in the amount of lactase that occurs after childhood and persists into adulthood, referred to as adult-type hypolactasia.
The severity of the symptoms of lactose intolerance varies greatly from person to person. One reason for this variability is that people have different amounts of lactose in their diet; the more lactose in the diet, the more likely and severe the symptoms. Another reason for the variability is that people have differing severities of lactase deficiency, that is, they may have mild, moderate, or severe reduction in the amounts of lactase in their intestines. Thus, small amounts of lactose will cause major symptoms in severely lactase deficient people but only mild or no symptoms in mildly lactase deficient people. Finally, people may have different responses to the same amount of lactose reaching the colon. Whereas some may have mild or no symptoms, others may have moderate symptoms. The reason for this is not clear but may relate to differences in their intestinal bacteria.