Although lactase, the enzyme required for the absorption of lactose is found in the small intestine, people who have had a gastrectomy may still suffer from symptoms of lactose intolerance. This may be due to the rapid transit of food through the GI system. Symptoms of lactose intolerance include abdominal cramping or pain, bloating, gas, and diarrhea. If you experience symptoms of lactose intolerance, a trial of avoiding foods with lactose may be beneficial. Often people can tolerate small amounts of lactose when taken throughout the day. If you are lactose intolerant but wish to continue to use dairy products, Lactase enzymes are available and may be beneficial.
Often when one experiences symptoms of malabsorption, health professionals suggest a low lactose diet. While some people may become lactose intolerant after their gastrectomy, it is important to remember that everyone is different and some people do not experience lactose intolerance. Do not assume that you will be automatically lactose intolerant after your gastrectomy. Dairy products are often an easy way to get protein and other nutrients at a time eating healthy may be a challenge. Avoiding them unnecessarily may make it more difficult to eat a nutrient dense diet. Remember too that some patients who are lactose intolerant are still able to tolerate small amounts of lactose as well as yogurt and some cheese.