Lactose intolerance is a condition in which a person is unable to completely digest sugar in milk which is lactose. This condition manifest as diarrhea, bloating and gas after consuming dairy products. It is also known as lactose malabsorption. Usually it is a harmless condition but can be uncomfortable.
Signs and symptoms usually appear early in 30 minutes after consuming dairy products. They include:
This condition usually occur due to deficiency of an enzyme, lactase, in the small intestine which is responsible to digest milk sugar. As a result of this deficiency food moves into the colon instead of being processed and absorbed. This leads to the interaction of undigested lactose with normal bacteria leading to the appearance of signs and symptoms.
Three types of lactose intolerance occur on the basis of different factors. These types are Primary lactose intolerance, secondary lactose intolerance and Congenital or developmental lactose intolerance.
Diagnosis of this condition depends upon detailed medical history and complete general physical examination of the patient. Along with this some tests are also done like:
- Hydrogen breath test
- Lactose tolerance test
Treatment options include:
- Limiting lactose intake and intake of dairy products.
- Consume lactose free milk
- Add powdered lactase enzyme in the milk to aid in digestion.
- Maintaining calcium intake from other sources
- Consuming leafy vegetables and other nutritious foods in diet.