Lactose Intolerance- From Origin To Cure

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Do you remember those jokes about Chandler Bing being lactose intolerant and everything that followed? Well, he was not the only one who suffered from this eccentric condition. Research data indicate that 33% population all over the world is lactose intolerant, while as much as 75% of population has reduced activity of lactase. Do you belong to this 75% or 33 %? Relax! You can stop forcing yourself to gulp down the glass of milk, while only thinking of the consequences of a glass of milk.

This article would give you an insight about lactose intolerance.


1.    What is Lactose Intolerance?

This is a condition when a person is unable to digest lactose, which is a carbohydrate present in milk. Since the sugar is not processed adequately, symptoms like diarrhea, bloating, flatulence and cramping are observed in lactose intolerant individuals after consumption of milk and milk products.


2.    What leads to lactose intolerance?

Lactose intolerance results due to deficiency of an enzyme called lactase, which is responsible for digestion of lactose, the milk sugar.

Normally, the lactose in dairy is fragmented to glucose and galactose, both of which are absorbed from the intestine; however, the undigested “lactose” in these patients is directly moved to the intestine, where it interacts with the intestinal flora, resulting in symptoms. 


3.    Where lies the defect?

The most common cause of this disorder is genetics. A lot of pre dated babies suffer from this condition, which is resolved as soon as the baby starts feeding.

Another cause of this defect can be because of damage, surgery or illness of the small intestine (Chemotherapy, Crohn’s Disease, Celiac Disease), all of which result in reduced or no lactase production.

Age is another factor which diminishes the absorption of lactose.


4.    What are the symptoms?

The severity of symptoms is proportional to the lactose content in the product you are consuming.

  • The most common symptoms are:
  • Gas
  • Bloating
  • Pain abdomen
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea.

These symptoms can be observed within half an hour to two hours after your consumption of lactose and usually arise in the teen or adult years of life. These symptoms typically go away as soon as you discontinue the use of dairy.


5.    How would the doctor diagnose it?

One, he can ask you to give up the dairy products for a while to confirm the diagnosis. He can also run simple tests:

  • Lactose tolerance test
  • Hydrogen breath test
  • Stool activity test.


6.    Is there a treatment?

The symptoms can be treated and hence, the effects can be controlled. Following are the measures that you can adopt for treatment of lactose intolerance.

  • Supplements. Rather than milk, go for supplements to meet the nutrition demands of body.
  • Choose yogurt instead of milk.
  • If you want to have milk, go for low lactose milk (soy milk).
  • Increase your calcium intake by choosing alternate calcium sources:

  • Cure at home. Yes! There are many ways by which you can get rid of intolerance of lactose at home. Have a look:


 So now you know how to manage the uncanny sensation in your abdomen as soon as you have milk. You also know the alternate supplements to Calcium. Now leading a life free from bloating would be much easy, right?


TAGGED IN : Gastroenterology Lactose Intolerance

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