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What is a CMPA (cows milk protein allergy) and how is it different to a Lactose intolerance?

January 20, 2020 jemma 3 min read No Comments
CMPA lactose intolerance

What is a CMPA (cows milk protein allergy) and how is it different to a Lactose intolerance?

January 20, 2020 Jemma 3 min read No Comments

If you think you have had a reaction to dairy, you may be confused as to whether you have CMPA (cows milk protein allergy) or an intolerance to the lactose in the milk. Below I help to identify the differences between them…

What is a CMPA (cows milk protein allergy)?

A CMPA (cows milk protein allergy) is when your immune system reacts to the proteins in cows milk. Cow’s milk allergy is a term used to describe reactions involving the immune system and is the most common allergy in babies affecting approximately 1 in 50 under one-year-old. (Read my blog – Does my baby have a CMPA? (Cows Milk Protein Allergy) if you recognise any of the symptoms.) According to the NHS around half of these will outgrow their allergy by the time they approach their first birthday. Those that don’t will generally have outgrown it by the time they are three, however, a cow’s milk allergy may be lifelong and severe in some.

Antihistamines can be used effectively to help alleviate symptoms of Cmpa’s.

What are the symptoms of a CMPA (cows milk protein allergy)?

According to the NHS symptoms of a CMPA are:

  • Rash,
  • Hives,
  • Redness around the mouth, (which can spread all over the body),
  • Runny nose/sneezing and itchy watery eyes,
  • Coughing,
  • Choking, gagging, wheezing and trouble breathing,
  • Abdominal cramps, vomiting and diarrhoea.
  • The reaction can stop at any stage or may develop into anaphylaxis (a serious allergic reaction that affects several body organs).
  • It can also cause eczema which won’t subside without medical intervention.

What is a Cows milk intolerance?

A milk intolerance is not the same as a CMPA and does not involve the immune system. Instead, it tends to affect the digestive system and unlike cmpa, symptoms are not helped by an antihistamine.  A cows milk intolerance does not cause eczema either.

What are the symptoms of a Cows milk intolerance?

According to the NHS symptoms of a cows milk intolerance are:

  • Vomiting,
  • Diarrhoea
  • Colic

What is a Lactose intolerance?

A lactose intolerance occurs when someone’s body lacks the enzyme lactase, which is the enzyme needed to digest the sugar found in milk, called Lactose. The severity of the symptoms varies depending on the amount of lactose consumed. Whilst those with a lactose intolerance tend to avoid certain creams, milk, butter and soft cheese, they are often able to tolerate some hard cheeses in small quantities.

What are the symptoms of a Lactose intolerance?

According to the NHS symptoms of a lactose intolerance are:

  • Bloated stomach
  • Stomach cramps and pains
  • Stomach rumbling
  • Feeling sick
  • Flatulence (wind)
  • Diarrhoea

I personally have a CMPA and since eliminating dairy from my diet completely by living a dairy-free lifestyle, I have been able to greatly improve my symptoms – main ones being hives, eczema, and redness flare ups.

My three sons have all had CMPA’s as babies and two of the three have now successfully climbed the milk ladder and can now tolerate cows milk.

Hopefully this blog has helped you identify ‘What is a cows milk protein allergy and how it is different to a Lactose intolerance?

Have you got a CMPA?

Or a Lactose intolerance?

How does it affect you?




Please remember I am not medically trained and do not claim to be. This is based purely on my personal experiences with allergies as well as information provided on the NHS website. If you suspect that you need medical help or assistance, please contact the relevant medical/ healthcare providers. In any case of emergency, please call the emergency number (999 in the UK).

Original post 18/11/2018

Updated 20/01/2020

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About Me

Nonscents at No.10

Hi I'm Jemma. Style obsessed Social Media Content Creator and Copywriter. Allergy Mummy to 3 boys. Eczema & TSW advocate. Living dairy and gluten free. Loves singing, shoes, hot drinks. Loathes losing things, cold tea and being itchy! xXx

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