Lactose intolerance is a condition in which people have digestive symptoms—such as bloating, diarrhoea, and gas—after eating or drinking milk or milk products.

    • A deficiency of lactase — an enzyme produced in your small intestine — is usually responsible for lactose intolerance.
    • Most people with lactose intolerance can manage the condition without having to give up all dairy foods.
    • In rare cases, newborns are lactose-intolerant. A person born with lactose intolerance cannot eat or drink anything with lactose.

    Symptoms:

    The signs and symptoms of lactose intolerance usually begin 30 minutes to two hours after eating or drinking foods that contain lactose. Common signs and symptoms include:

    • Diarrhoea
    • Nausea, and sometimes, vomiting
    • Abdominal cramps
    • Bloating
    • Gas

    How does lactose intolerance affect health?

    • People with lactose intolerance may not get enough calcium if they do not eat calcium-rich foods or do not take a dietary supplement that contains calcium.
    • Milk and milk products are major sources of calcium and other nutrients in the diet.
    • Calcium is essential at all ages for the growth and maintenance of bones. A shortage of calcium intake in children and adults may lead to bones that are less dense and can easily fracture later in life, a condition called osteoporosis.

    How is lactose intolerance managed?

    • Many people can manage the symptoms of lactose intolerance by changing their diet.
    • Some people may only need to limit the amount of lactose they eat or drink. Others may need to avoid lactose altogether.
    • Using lactase products can help some people manage their symptoms.
    • In infants with developmental lactase deficiency, the ability to digest lactose improves as the infants mature.
    • People with primary and congenital lactase deficiency cannot change their body’s ability to produce lactase.
    Reference
    • National Health Service
    • Mayoclinic
    • The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

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