Lactose intolerance

What is Lactose and what does it mean that I have intolerance for it?


Lactose intolerance means that the body can hardly or absolutely can’t digest a type of natural sugar found in milk and dairy products. It occurs when the small intestine doesn’t produce enough lactase enzyme, which is necessary to break down lactose.

When lactose passes through the colon without digestion it can cause some very unpleasant symptoms, such as gases, flatulence and abdominal pain. There are people who can’t consume any dairy products because of lactose intolerance. Some others might consume certain dairy products in a small quantity without experiencing any discomfort.

Lactose intolerance often occurs in adults, but the symptoms can manifest already during adolescence. People suffering from lactose intolerance must learn how to replenish their calcium intake, which is caused by the lack of consumption of dairy products. Sometimes the small intestine doesn’t produce lactase enzyme due to a short episode of illness, or when a part of the intestine has to be removed during surgery, and afterwards the lactase production ceases. These can be permanent or temporary problems.

It is very uncommon that newborn babies have lactose intolerance. If it occurs, it affects mostly prematurely born babies who are still incapable to produce lactase. Usually babies recover from this condition.

Depending on how much lactose the body produces the symptoms may vary in strength, but they usually manifest appr. between 30 minutes to 2 hours after the consumption of the dairy product.

- Bloating

- Abdominal pain or cramps

- Borborygmi (rumbling stomach)

- Gas production

- Diarrhea or loose stool

- Vomiting



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