What Is Lactose Intolerance?

Jake was having a hearty laugh with his friends when his stomach began to rumble. He did dot mind it and continued sipping his milk shake. He started farting. He then excused himself when his stomach worsened. Jake has lactose intolerance and he had forgotten to check his dairy intake.

What is lactose intolerance?

Lactose intolerance is the inability to digest and absorb a sugar (lactose) found in milk and other dairy products. A person suffers from this condition when the intestinal system lacks or does not have the enzyme lactase. The inability to metabolize lactose results in gastrointestinal symptoms when dairy products are eaten or drunk.

What causes this condition?

Lactose intolerance may be caused by one of the following reasons: congenital, secondary, or developmental. Lactose intolerance may occur because lactase is absent from birth caused by a gene mutation. This is very rare and the symptoms begin soon after birth.

Lactose intolerance can also be caused by diseases (such as celiac sprue) that destroy small intestine linings along with the lactase. Adult-type hypolactasia is the most common cause of lactose intolerance. In this condition, the lack of lactase after their childhood continues into adulthood.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of lactose intolerance depend on the amount of dairy you consume and how little lactase your body makes. A person suffering from lactose intolerance usually experiences diarrhea, gas, bloating, stomach cramps and nausea within half an hour to two hours after eating.

How is lactose intolerance diagnosed?

It really helps to consult with a specialist who can diagnose lactose intolerance correctly and give advice on how to manage it. This condition is diagnosed by testing stool acidity, intestinal biopsy, and using the hydrogen breath test.

How is it treated?

Lactose intolerance can be treated by dietary changes. Eat only lactose-free or lactose-reduced food. Taking lactase enzyme supplement like Lactaid just before eating dairy products may help avert symptoms. You can also drink juices fortified with calcium.