Because of spam, I personally moderate all comments left on my blog. However, because of health issues, I will not be able to do so in the future.

If you have a personal question about LI or any related topic you can send me an email at I will try to respond.

Otherwise, this blog is now a legacy site, meaning that I am not updating it any longer. The basic information about LI is still sound. However, product information and weblinks may be out of date.

In addition, my old website, Planet Lactose, has been taken down because of the age of the information. Unfortunately, that means links to the site on this blog will no longer work.

For quick offline reference, you can purchase Planet Lactose: The Best of the Blog as an ebook on or Almost 100,000 words on LI, allergies, milk products, milk-free products, and the genetics of intolerance, along with large helpings of the weirdness that is the Net.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Report From the LI Conference, part 27

Part 27. Hey, I sat there for a day and a half. Think how I feel.

Anyway, this was the last presentation.

Psychological Impacts: Strategies Effective in Managing Individuals Diagnosed With Lactose Intolerance
Janet E. Taylor, M.D., M.P.H.
Private Practice

Dr. Taylor wrote that "Undiagnosed individuals with gastrointestinal complaints may present with somatization preoccupation." How many of you out there know what somatization preoccupation is? If you do, you were one up on me. I had to look it up.

Somatization disorder refers to the preoccupation with multiple physical complaints suggestive of a somatic disease for which a clear physical etiology and an adequate medical explanation cannot be found.

In shorter words, you're sick with a real physical, as opposed to psychological, disease but no one can tell you what you have. Lactose intolerance should be easily diagnosed, but often isn't. And many people have a range of gastronintestinal disorders that may overlap with or be confused with or be suffered in addition to LI. I also have irritable bowel syndrome, and needed to find a treatment for that before my intestinal complaints could be brought under control.

Disorders that aren't quickly and properly identified lead to long-term distress of many kinds. More suffering, more sick days, more disruption. The psychological complaints that you didn't have in the beginning, like depression or anxiety, can result from not having the physical side go untreated.

Physicians have to become more aware of these psychological issues and look for signs of them and learn how to treat them as well as the physical illnesses.

There's more.

Here's a real problem that is almost never talked about when health is being debated. As many as 30% of adults in this country are functionally illiterate. They read at a fourth grade level or less. They may not know basic terms like "serving" or "calcium." They're probably not reading blogs, much less books or medical journals. The nutrition information on a package is probably confounding. The list of ingredients may not be understandable. They may not go regularly to doctors and if they do they're probably more concerned about other, urgent, health care needs.

I'm addressing this blog to a literate, probably well-educated population. That turns out to be only part of what needs to be done. All of the people in the U.S - and elsewhere - need the best health and the best information to achieve it, not just 70%. If you have any ideas on how that might be possible, please let me know.

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