Skip to Content

Health Library

Medical History and Physical Exam for Lactose Intolerance

Topic Overview

Medical history

Asking questions about your medical history is an important part of diagnosing lactose intolerance. Your doctor may ask you about:

  • Your symptoms and when they occur. To help make a diagnosis, your doctor may ask you to keep track of what and when you eat and the type of symptoms you have.
  • Recent illnesses, long-term diseases, or surgeries involving your stomach or intestines.
  • Your family history of lactose intolerance.
  • Your ethnic background. Most people in the world become somewhat lactose-intolerant as adults. People who have a northern European heritage usually are the exception.

If you think your baby may have lactose intolerance, you may be asked if he or she:

  • Has diarrhea often.
  • Seems hungry all the time.
  • Has gained little or no weight.
  • Seems irritable.

Physical exam

The physical exam for lactose intolerance includes examining your belly. You may also be asked to bring in a sample of your stool. The stool of a person who has lactose intolerance is usually loose or watery. It also can be foamy.

Related Information

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Rohit K Katial, MD - Allergy and Immunology
Last Revised June 28, 2013

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2014 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

Decision Points

Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.

You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:

Interactive Tools

Get started learning more about your health!

Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.

Symptom Checker

Feeling under the weather?

Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.

Connect With CentraCare