When I tell people I’m lactose intolerant, many ask me why I don’t just pop a lactase pill and eat whatever I want. That’s a valid question.
First, let’s talk a little bit about lactase pills. The most popular brand available is Lactaid, but there are generic pills (CVS) and Nature’s Way pills. These pills are to be taken before eating the dairy-containing food and help you break it down so you do not have unpleasant side-effects. They are widely available at grocery stores and pharmacies and many people use them. So why don’t I?
1. They don’t fully eliminate my symptoms. The effectiveness of these pills depends on how much dairy you can naturally tolerate and how much dairy you consume. I have always had more mild after effects when I consume the pill, but it does not fully “fix” my stomach issues.
2. It’s a pain to have to pop a pill. Especially in a social setting. Imagine yourself sitting across your date, candles lighting up his/her eyes, romantic music playing in the background. He/she asks if you would like to share a cheesy appetizer and you can’t turn him down. The waiter interrupts your sweet conversation to bring your food. He/she looks at you, letting you take the first bite. Then you bite your lip and say, “Hold on” as you scrummage through your pocket/purse to find your Lactaid pill. You put the pill in your mouth as he/she is still watching— you are now feeling very awkward. The mood is ruined.
3. They are kind of expensive. Lactaid goes for around $10 for 32 pills. This is about 31 cents a pill. Now, before you call me cheap, hear me out. When I have taken them, I have to take two pills. And that is for a “kind of” effect. I just don’t feel like spending money on something that is not going to give me what it promises on the label.
4. I am a black and white person. I can’t be going back and forth on being dairy-free. In order to stick with my decision, I need to stop consuming it completely, even if the pill helps me not feel so sick.