Lactose Intolerance

Lactose intolerance is the inability to digest significant amounts of lactose, the predominant sugar of milk and dairy products.

Quick Facts

Symptoms:

Symptoms usually begin 30 minutes to 2 hours after you eat or drink milk products. If you have lactose intolerance, your symptoms may include:
  • Bloating
  • Pain or cramps
  • Gurgling or rumbling sounds in your belly
  • Gas
  • Loose stools or diarrhea
  • Throwing up

Common Causes:

Lactose intolerance occurs when the small intestine does not make enough of an enzyme called lactase. Your body needs lactase to break down, or digest, lactose.
 
Lactose intolerance most commonly runs in families, and symptoms usually develop during the teen or adult years. Most people with this type of lactose intolerance can eat some milk or dairy products without problems.

Diagnosis:

  • Medical history review and review of symptoms
  • Physical examination
  • Hydrogen breath test
  • Stool acidity test
  • Elimination of dairy products
  • Endoscopy

Common Treatment:

  • Reduce or eliminate lactose intake
  • Dietary supplements, such as Lactaid 

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