Lactose intolerance is a common digestive disorder. When a person has lactose intolerance, he/she cannot digest lactose – a natural sugar that’s found in dairy and milk. Strangely, some people do have digestion issues with all lactose-based products, while others react to only a few of the dairy products. The condition is related to the small intestine, which doesn’t produce adequate lactase – an enzyme. The enzyme allows the digestive system to dissolve and digest lactose. Here are some of the facts worth knowing.
It should be noted that lactose intolerance is not a permanent disorder in all cases. Sometimes, it is related to conditions like stomach flu, which may affect the small intestine. The condition is mostly seen in adults, who start experiencing the symptoms of lactose intolerance in their teen years, especially it’s a permanent thing. Although rare, some people are born with lactose intolerance and they cannot have anything that contains lactose in any form.
Find the symptoms
The amount of lactase produced by the small intestine largely determines the symptoms of lactose intolerance. People with lactose intolerance mostly complain after half an hour or more of having dairy products or foods that contain lactose. Some of the common symptoms include pain in the abdomen, bloating, gas, loose stool, and unusual sounds in the tummy. Typically, doctors ask patients about their symptoms to diagnose the condition. Experts of USPI often recommend patients to avoid taking dairy and other milk products for a while, just to see if the condition, especially pain and bloating gets better. There are blood tests available to check lactose intolerance.
Treatment and other aspects
There is no known cure for lactose intolerance. Doctors, as mentioned above, usually suggest avoiding milk products. If you are addicted to dairy otherwise and have been advised against the same, go for soy products, which don’t cause lactose intolerance. Keep an eye on your symptoms, because it is possible that your stomach is intolerant to a certain product. Yoghurt is usually considered to be a safe choice for most people. Since you won’t be having dairy products, you may not get enough of calcium. Eat green-leafy veggies and talk to your doctor if you can take calcium supplements.
Also, do not ignore abdominal pain if it continues to persist. Check with your doctor if certain medicines can be used for immediate relief. Get checked for other digestive disorders if suggested by the healthcare provider.