Lactose Intolerance: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis & Treatment

What is Lactose Intolerance?

Lactose intolerance is actually a condition where the body is incapable of accepting dairy products. It can cause stomach pain after consuming Milk products and cause digestion problems too.

Lactose intolerance is generally not a curable situation. However, there are methods which are available to reduce the symptoms of lactose intolerance. Lactose intolerance can be of two types namely, primary and secondary.

The primary type of lactose intolerance is generally seen among the Mediterranean or South European decent.

The secondary type of lactose intolerance can occur when the amount of lactase is decreased in the body after some injury or surgery or illness of the small intestine.

There is another type of lactose intolerance named congenital/developmental lactose intolerance. It generally occurs due to the absence of lactase activity.

How does Lactose Intolerance affect the body?

Lactose intolerance can have various effects on the body. It includes the formulation of abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting or indigestion. It can also cause gas formation or  a feeling of heartburn after eating or drinking dairy products.

Lactose intolerance is capable of producing a General feeling of discomfort after the consumption of Milk products.

What are the causes of Lactose Intolerance?

These are the following causes of lactose intolerance.

Decreased production of the enzyme lactase. This occurs in the small intestine. Lactase is an enzyme which helps in the digestion of lactose. Lactose is found in dairy products. Lactose intolerance can also develop with age. Babies generally don’t have a problem with digesting milk.

What are the risk factors of Lactose Intolerance?

The following are the risk factors for lactose intolerance.

  • The chances of getting lactose intolerance is higher with the progression of age of the patient. It can also occur within specific ethnicity groups.
  • Lactose intolerance can occur as an after effect of small intestine disorder or surgery, ailment. Some cancer treatments can also cause a higher risk of lactose intolerance. In Africa, Asia and Hispanic populations lactose intolerance can be seen more & in premature babies also.

What are the symptoms of being Lactose Intolerant?

These are the symptoms which can help in determining the patient is lactose intolerant or not.

The common symptoms of lactose intolerance include abdominal pain, nausea vomiting and diarrhoea( moderate), bloating and gas formation, altered bowel habits after immediate consumption of dairy products.

Contact your doctor if the stomach pain persists.

How is Lactose Intolerance Diagnosed?

Following are the diagnosis methods for determination of lactose intolerance in patients.

There are more than a couple of tests available for the diagnosis of lactose intolerance. These are namely :

  • lactose tolerant test. (after 2 hours of drinking milk the blood will be monitored for further information.)
  • Hydrogen breath test and
  •  3.stool acidity test.

The physical symptoms of lactose intolerance will include discomfort or a feeling of nausea after the consumption of Milk products or products containing lactose.

What are the measures for prevention and control?

These are the measure measures which should be undertaken for the prevention and control of lactose intolerance.

  • Avoid Milk products as much as you can.
  • Include small portions of dairy products in your meal everyday.
  • Eating ice cream is not recommended. Maintain good nutrition by having oranges, broccoli or soya milk and eggs.
  • Lactase enzyme tablets or drops can be used.
  • Lactose products usage should be cut down.

What are the treatment options?

These are the treatment options available for easing the symptoms of lactose intolerance.

  • The allopathic medicines available are probiotics. This includes active cultures present in supplements or in capsule form. They can also be included in yogurt. This helps in the digestion of lactose in a better way. See the doctor if you are having the regular inconvenience
  • other natural remedies include having soya milk as a substitution to milk.

Lifestyle tips – Lactose Intolerance

These are the tips for lifestyle in patients having lactose intolerance.

  • Balance your diet properly. Avoid Milk products as much as you can.
  • Do not take dairy items at intervals of the small time period.
  • If required take probiotics for better digestion. Consult with your health care professional or doctor if the abdominal pain after consuming milk is continuous.

What are the Recommended exercises?

There are no particular exercise recommended for lactose intolerance. However, it is proven through scientific research that exercising regularly for a certain amount of time can help in boosting digestion towards better reasons.

Therefore doctors recommend to stay active throughout the day and manage at least 30 minutes of particular workout routine for exercising or yoga.

What are the interactions with diseases or pregnancy?

These are the interactions available with diseases and pregnancy.

Pregnancy: In many cases, lactose intolerance can increase during pregnancy. It may not react with other diseases. Vitamin D is required for mothers. However, during the period of childbirth, it is proven through research that the Mother’s body can become normal and the lactose intolerance can go away for the time being.

What are the common complications of being lactose intolerant?

These are the common complications of being lactose intolerant.

  • There is a lack of dairy products which causes calcium deficiency in the body. Calcium deficiency can lead to a number of bone disorders like osteoporosis excetra.
  • The risk of osteopenia is increased.
  • There is also a chance of suffering from malnutrition.

Frequently asked questions 

Q. Are children more prone to lactose intolerance?

Actually, adults are more prone to lactose intolerance. However, children generally have no problem in the breakdown of lactose. Therefore they can digest milk pretty easily.

Q. What are the food containing hidden sources of lactose?

Lactose cannot only be present in Milk products, but it can also be present in the bread and baked goods.

Q. Is lactose present only in dairy products?

No, it can also come from other resources like prepared or process food.

Q. What happens if we ignore lactose intolerance?

It can cause diarrhoea. It can cause a General feeling of discomfort and unpleasant effects.

Q. Is anyone likely to die from lactose intolerance?

In patients who are severely affected by allergy from lactose, lactose intolerance can cause severe anaphylactic shock in the body which can cause anaphylaxis. This can even turn legal and the death of the patient can occur.

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