• 27 JUL 17
    Lactose intolerance vs milk allergy

    Lactose intolerance vs milk allergy

    Milk allergy and lactose intolerance may seem the same, but they are two very different things. In both cases it is necessary to avoid the intake of dairy foods but the symptoms and ways of treating them are different.

    They are two different digestive problems and one is more serious than the other.

    The key is to take a varied and healthy diet to replace milk protein.

    One of the most striking facts in this area is that milk is one of the most common foods, after peanuts and nuts, that cause allergies and anaphylaxis.

    Allergy to milk

    Milk allergy is a reaction of the immune system to a protein that contains milk. It is a much more exaggerated reaction than lactose intolerance. When this protein is ingested, it can lead to rashes, hives, itching, swelling … as mild or other more severe symptoms such as shortness of breath or loss of consciousness.

    Reactions to milk protein can be so severe that it can cause death. It is what is known as anaphylaxis. The most visible symptoms of a serious allergy are:

    • Swelling of the face
    • Redness
    • Decreased blood pressure

    Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening reaction that narrows the airways and blocks respiration. It is treated with an injection of adrenaline (epinephrine) to unblock the airways. So if you ever go to a case like this, it is very important to call a doctor right away to give you an injection of this type.

    In the case of a milk allergy, your immune system identifies the harmful proteins in milk and triggers the production of antibodies to neutralize it. When it consumes that protein, the immune system recognizes it, releases histamine and other chemical elements, causing the allergic symptoms.

    The symptoms differ between people, and may be mild or severe, as well as lasting a few minutes or even hours.

    Developing this type of allergy is very common if someone in your family developed it or by age, because the digestive system matures and is less likely to react to milk. So children are the most likely to develop this allergic reaction.

    Therefore, if you have children who have allergies to milk, it is very important that you pass it on to your doctor when recommending medications that may contain elements that cause a serious allergic reaction.

    If you notice a severe or mild reaction to milk at home, go to your pediatrician as soon as possible to get tested for milk allergy, but above all, eliminate all dairy foods until your Doctor advise you otherwise.

    Lactose intolerance

    In contrast, lactose intolerance does not involve the immune system, so it requires a different treatment than the allergic reaction to milk protein.

    The most common symptoms of lactose intolerance are: diarrhea, abdominal pain, vomiting, gas … always after consuming products with lactose.

    Lactose intolerance is caused by not having enough lactase, which is necessary to break down lactose, the sugar found in milk and other dairy products.

    This type of intolerance can be developed by genetics, or by a bacterial infection.

    The effects of intolerance usually last between 30 minutes and 2 hours, after having eaten some food with lactose.

    In case of intolerance, your doctor will advise you to remove lactose-rich foods from your diet to follow up and, if in doubt, will perform tests to detect the degree of intolerance.

    Have a reaction to milk or a lactose intolerance, it is very important not to stop taking calcium. You can take soy or lactose-free milk if you are intolerant.

    You should read nutritional labels very well if you have a milk allergy because the effects are more serious, but also if you suffer from intolerance, to avoid taking those foods.

    Today there is more and more food on the market free of lactose, due to the increase in the population of intolerant people. In addition, it has increased its consumption among non-intolerant people, because of the benefits of these “lactose-free” products to make digestion much better.

    Depending on the case, the most important thing is to visit the doctor or pediatrician as soon as possible, as well as the allergist or specialist in Pediatric Gastroenterology, depending on the severity of the case.

    In the Digestive unit, in the Vithas Xanit Hospital in Benalmádena, our renowned specialists will attend you in any need with the latest technology and equipment.

Department Patient Care
Xanit International Hospital

I really appreciate and thank all the staff at Vithas Xanit International Hospital.  They certainly helped to make my stay in hospital more relaxing, and less painful than usual, in spite of my illness. I feel that I have just come out of a charming small hotel rather than a large hospital.


Medical Specialities

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    At Vithas Xanit we offer the most advanced technology for hair transplantation surgery and for non surgical treatments. We attend both men and women, suffering from any capillary loss, either on the scalp or in any other body area (beard, moustache, eyebrows or eyelashes).

  • Cosmetic Surgery and Anti Aging

    Cosmetic Surgery and Anti Aging

    At Hospital Vithas Xanit Internacional, the Cosmetic and Plastic Surgery Unit helps patients to feel good about themselves.
    The latest medical technology and our doctors and surgeons’ perfectionism are key factors in terms of patient satisfaction with the results of their cosmetic surgery or treatment. Liposuction, breast enlargements, rhinoplasty and tummy tucks are among the most applied treatments.

  • Dental surgery and Cosmetic Dentistry

    Dental surgery and Cosmetic Dentistry

    Our dentists carry out your dental surgery and/or dental treatment quickly and efficiently.
    At Hospital Vithas Xanit Internacional, we guarantee high quality dental treatments such as dental surgery (dental implants, sinus lift) or cosmetic dentistry treatments (dental crown, dental bridge, veneers, dentures, etc.).

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    Orthopedic Surgery and Trauma

    Orthopedic surgery quality and prices vary from country to country and Spain combines the best of both worlds.
    The most requested health tourism orthopedic surgeries are hip replacement and knee replacement. At Hospital Vithas Xanit Internacional, these procedures are performed using arthroscopy and Minimally Invasive Techniques (MIS).

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    Heart Surgery

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    Obesity treatment and Bariatric Surgery

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    Our surgeons have been widely trained in this area, with over 20 years’ experience in all bariatric surgeries. They are all done by laparoscopy.

  • Digestive Surgery – Gallbladder Surgery

    Digestive Surgery – Gallbladder Surgery

    The General Surgery and Digestive System Service at Hospital Vithas Xanit Internacional can boast the most advanced technology and latest generation equipment for treating a wide variety of digestive pathologies such as in gallbladder. This service offers advanced laparoscopy surgery as the main way of tackling most surgical pathologies.

  • Urology – TURP

    Urology – TURP

    The Hospital Vithas Xanit Internacional Urology service employs European Board of Urology-certified urologists. This unit offers patients the latest diagnosis techniques, treatments and procedures. At our International Hospital, Transurethral Resection of the Prostate (TURP) is the most frequently used technique to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia.

  • Vascular Surgery – Phlebology

    Vascular Surgery – Phlebology

    Venous insufficiency is a chronic pathology that affects one in three adults. It is characterised by a deficient blood return in the lower limbs.
    Our International Hospital medical team has wide-ranging experience in sclerotherapy with micro-foam, varicose vein removal with endovascular laser, ambulatory phlebectomy and the C.H.I.V.A technique, among others.

  • Spinal Surgery

    Spinal Surgery

    Slipped discs and spinal stenosis usually affect the lumbar and cervical spine and the spinal surgery most requested by our international patients is laminectomy, as well as arthroplasty of the intervertebral disk and spinal fusion.

  • Ophtalmology and laser eye surgery

    Ophtalmology and laser eye surgery

    Our international hospital uses a new femtosecond laser, the most technologically advanced refractive surgery system currently available. It can correct long-sightedness and refractive defects such as short sightedness, astigmatism or hypermetropia in a single operation.
    The most popular ophthalmology surgeries among our international patients are laser eye surgery, glaucoma and cataract surgery.

  • Imaging Diagnosis

    Imaging Diagnosis

    Radiology and nuclear medicine are medical specialties that focus on the diagnosis of diseases through the interpretation of images. They provide fundamental information for the Medical Check-Up Unit. At Hospital Vithas Xanit Internationalthese two specialities are integrated into a single service in order to provide the maximum reliability and diagnostic coordination.

  • Medical check up

    Medical check up

    Evolving health concepts, greater longevity and technological developments mean that it is increasingly important to detect and make an early diagnosis on diseases and prevent them.
    Therefore, periodic health check-up is the most efficient and secure way of controlling your health.

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology – Hysterectomy

    Obstetrics and Gynecology – Hysterectomy

    Various conditions might lead to a hysterectomy or uterine ablation: uterine cancer, cervical cancer, ovarian cancer, uterine fibroids, endometriosis, uterine prolapse, adenomyosis.
    This surgery can be traumatising for women and so the psychology department at Hospital Vithas Xanit Internacional helps women through this process.