Lactose Intolerance, is one of the most misunderstood concepts in the world today. This is simply due to people frequently over the years confusing it for ‘milk allergy’. So, to address this misconception, the question that needs to be asked is, what exactly is lactose intolerance? Here is ‘Mmilk’ then, presenting to you a few facts about this medical condition, which shall answer the question asked above in totality.

a. Lactose Intolerance Meaning, what is it?

‘An inability of the digestive system in the human body to breakdown lactose (a type of sugar available in dairy products)’ is what is known as Lactose Intolerance. Furthermore, a lactose intolerant individual usually suffers from a bout of this condition, approximately 30 minutes to 2 hours after consuming any milk based product. In addition, the seriousness of the attack suffered by the individual depends upon the amount of milk product consumed.

b. What are the types of Lactose Intolerance available?

There are four types of Lactose Intolerance available. They are as follows:

  1. Primary Lactose Intolerance: This type occurs in an individual as he/she ages, due to which the amount of ‘lactase’ secreted in the small intestines decreases.
  2. Secondary Lactose Intolerance: This type occurs when the small intestines are damaged due to infection as well as conditions such as celiac disease, inflammation of bowels etc.
  3. Developmental Lactose Intolerance: Occurs mainly in premature babies. However, this condition improves over time.
    Congenital Lactose Intolerance: Occurs mainly due to a genetic defect during birth which results in little or no lactase secretion during birth.

c. Lactose Intolerance Causes, why does it occur?

Lactose Intolerance Causes can be divided into two types namely genetic induced (birth defect) and environmentally induced. However, in general terms, this condition is mainly caused by the inability of the enzyme ‘lactase’ to breakdown lactose into ‘glucose’ and ‘galactose’ within the small intestines. In other words, the lack of the enzyme ‘lactase’ on the lining of the ‘duodenum’ (first section of the small intestines) is what triggers this form of intolerance towards a type of sugar (lactose) found in milk based products.

d. What are some of the Lactose Intolerance symptoms in Adults?

There are a number of Lactose Intolerance symptoms in adults that are frequently observed. They are as follows:

  1. Abdominal bloating.
  2. Pain.
  3. Cramps.
  4. Rumbling/gurgling sounds in the stomach.
  5. Diarrhea.
  6. Flatulence.
  7. Nausea, at times accompanied by vomiting.

e. What does Lactose Intolerance diet entail?

An ideal Lactose Intolerance diet could include milk substitutes such as soy milk, rice milk, almond milk, coconut milk etc, which are completely free from lactose. In addition, lactase enzyme supplement in the form of tablets (Beta-galactosidase), can also be used as a part of the diet of individuals that are lactose intolerant. Furthermore, individuals suffering from the primary type of this condition can also be made ‘immune’ to intolerance of lactose, by encouraging them to consume milk products on a daily basis.

f. What does Lactose Intolerance treatment comprise of?
The Lactose Intolerance treatment is extremely basic in nature, and includes the complete avoidance of dairy products, use of dietary supplements, use of lactose free products, and consulting a reliable doctor specializing in the field of Gastroenterology and Nutrition. However, a Paediatrician, or a Primary Care Provider (PCP) may also be consulted.

With an approximate of 65% of the global population suffering from Lactose Intolerance, it therefore becomes essential to understand a few to know facts about this condition. Here is then hoping that the information we at ‘Mmilk’ have provided for you through this article, answers all the questions you need to know about this condition.

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