Know your body

What works for you will be specific to your body. It's important to start with figuring out how much lactose your body can handle before it affects you. Then, try out different solutions until you find one (or a combination) that suits your dietary, monetary or other needs.

Reduce dairy in your diet

Reducing dairy in your diet is the most cost-effective option for those who can handle some lactose. It is important to not remove dairy from your diet unless it is necessary. Avoid eating meals with more than one source of dairy (such as pizza and a glass of milk) and make sure to eat something alongside your dairy (e.g., pizza and a salad with a non-cream-based sauce) . Know what foods contain or might contain lactose--check out the Food page for common and tricky sources. Also, consider taking a lactase supplement for those times when you want to indulge in more dairy than usual.

In extreme cases, the body cannot digest any lactose without symptoms--if this applies to you, read below for more suggestions. Try them before deciding to remove dairy from your diet.

Take a lactase supplement

There are many options for choosing a lactase enzyme supplement. The most well-known brand is Lactaid. Lactaid produces both chewable and swallowable tablets that aid in the digestion of lactose when taken with a meal, as well as a variety of dairy products that are 100% lactose-free.

Also, more and more stores are offering their own brand of lactase supplement. These off-brand supplements are cheaper, but some people claim they are not as effective as the Lactaid brand.

Personally, I have used both Lactaid and off-brand supplements with complete success. Depending on your body, you may need to take more than one with each meal, and you may need to take another one if you continue eating dairy for more than 20 to 45 minutes.

Use a daily supplement

If you want an alternative to taking a tablet with every meal, look into Digestive Advantage Lactose Defense Formula, a once-a-day combination of lactase and probiotics that is supposed to relieve lactose intolerance symptoms throughout the day. Like the other methods, this works for some and not for others, but it is an option that could assuage the hassle of having to remember at each meal. Read user reviews to help you decide if the product is something you'd like to try.