Pretty much everyone on this planet knows what lactose intolerance is. However, if you're not lactose intolerant, it's super easy to believe all the myths about what it actually is. As someone who is lactose intolerant, I constantly get asked why I eat yogurt at breakfast or if I will explode if I have a slice of pizza. Instead of letting the world believe the wrong thing about lactose intolerance, it's time to open conversation about this digestion problem and explain that yes, I still eat ice-cream.

1. Lactose Intolerance Is An Allergy

As someone who is lactose intolerant, nothing annoys me more than when people think I'm allergic to milk.  Lactose intolerance is an impaired ability to digest lactose.  It is not an allergy, disease, or whatever else you call it.  

2. Lactose Intolerant People Must Avoid ALL Dairy Products

Just because someone is lactose intolerant does not mean they can never eat ice cream, put coffee in their milk, or have cheese on their sandwich. There are varying levels of lactose intolerance. Those whose lactose intolerance is very severe should try to cut out all milk products. However, those whose lactose intolerance is mild can still consume dairy products in moderation.

3. You Can Easily Tell If You're Lactose Intolerant

Many people like to think if they get a stomach ache and earlier that day they had a dairy product, they are lactose intolerant. However, there are many health conditions that can cause similar abdominal pain that those with lactose intolerance have. For example, constipation causes similar abdominal pains and it is very common.  

Just because your stomach hurts does not mean you should be cutting out dairy products. If you are genuinely concerned with your body's ability to digest lactose, talk to your doctor and get tested before you assume the worst.

4. You Can Have Other Forms of Milk

Cow's milk is not the only milk product with lactose.  Both goat's milk and sheep's milk contain lactose.  If you're lactose intolerant, think twice before grabbing these alternatives to cow's milk in the grocery store.

5. Everyone With Lactose Intolerance Experiences the Same Symptoms

As mentioned before, there are different levels of lactose intolerance. Because of this, the severity of symptoms vary from person to person. While the symptoms amongst those who are lactose intolerant may be similar, they are absolutely not the same.

6. You Can't Be Lactose Intolerant If You Weren't Born With It

While some people were born with cell mutations that cause lactose intolerance, you can still become intolerant during adulthood.  Lactose intolerance in adults is caused by reduced production of lactase after infancy.  This means that lactose intolerance is not completely genetic and it can develop later in life.

So, now we can all stop wondering why our lactose intolerant friend asks us to get ice-cream with them, or how someone you've known for your entire life suddenly can't digest lactose anymore, or whether or not lactose intolerance is a milk allergy. And if you think you may be lactose intolerant, instead of deciding on your own to avoid all dairy products, go to your doctor and get tested to see if that's really the case. Being lactose intolerant is not a weird food problem that makes people unable to have a milkshake. It's a problem digesting the sugar lactose but it doesn't mean you can't enjoy a milkshake every now and then.