What is Lactose Intolerance?

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by Sil Pancho

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11.03.2021

Lactose intolerance is the inability to adequately digest the sugar (lactose) found in milk. As a result, after eating or drinking dairy products, individuals have diarrhea, gas, and bloating. The disease isn’t dangerous, but it may be inconvenient and humiliating. There is no treatment, but you may control it by limiting the amount of milk or milk products you consume. Lactose intolerance is not the same thing as milk allergy.

What is lactose intolerance?

Lactose is a kind of sugar found in milk.

Lactase is an enzyme that breaks down sugar so that it may be absorbed into our systems. Lactase intolerance, on the other hand, is caused by a lack of lactase. The small intestine produces it. Some people can digest milk products even if their lactase levels are low. Lactose intolerant persons have symptoms after eating dairy because their lactase levels are low.

Lactase in our small intestine breaks down milk sugar when we drink milk or consume milk-based food. Through the small intestines, it is absorbed into the body. Lactose intolerant folks, on the other hand, do not have it so easy. The lactose is not broken down in them. Instead, it travels to the colon, where it ferments after mixing with regular bacteria. Bloating, gas, and diarrhea are all possible side effects. There are a few things you may do to put yourself to the test:

  • For a few weeks, don’t drink any milk or milk products.
  • If your symptoms go away, gradually include dairy products back into your diet to see how you react.
  • If your symptoms persist or recur after you stop eating dairy, contact your doctor to figure out what’s wrong.

Symptoms

Lactose intolerance signs and symptoms generally appear 30 minutes to two hours after eating or drinking lactose-containing meals. The following are some of the most common indications and symptoms:

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea and, on rare occasions, vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Bloating
  • Gas

Causes

Lactose intolerance is caused by a lack of an enzyme (lactase) in your small intestine that allows milk sugar to be digested (lactose). Lactase converts the milk sugar into glucose , which are taken into the circulation via the gut mucosa. Lactose in your meals travels into the colon instead of being digested and absorbed if you’re lactase deficient. Lactose intolerance is caused by normal bacteria interacting with undigested lactose in the colon, resulting in signs and symptoms. Lactose intolerance may be divided into three categories. Lactase deficiency is caused by a variety of causes in each kind.

  • Primary lactose intolerance

The most prevalent kind of lactose intolerance, primary lactose intolerance, is caused by a lack of lactase production at birth. Lactase is required for infants who rely only on milk for nourishment. The quantity of lactase produced by children decreases when they substitute milk with other meals, but it is generally sufficient to digest the amount of dairy in a typical adult diet. Lactase synthesis drops dramatically by maturity in primary lactose intolerance, making dairy products difficult to digest.

  • Secondary lactose intolerance

When your small intestine produces less lactase as a result of an illness, accident, or surgery, this type of lactose intolerance develops. Intestinal infection, celiac disease, bacterial overgrowth, and Crohn’s disease are among conditions linked to secondary lactose intolerance. Treatment for the underlying disease may help to restore lactase levels and alleviate signs and symptoms, however, it may take some time.

How to manage it

You may be able to eat or drink a tiny amount of milk. Some individuals tolerate dairy better if they eat it with a meal. Furthermore, some dairy products, such as hard cheese and yogurt, maybe simpler to stomach than others. In addition, there are several lactose-free dairy products available at the store. If you still want the genuine thing, you may take over-the-counter vitamins like Lactaid to break down the milk sugars.

However, even if you eliminate milk from your diet, you may still receive plenty of calcium, vitamin D, and other minerals from a balanced diet. These foods can be used in place of milk:

  • Almonds
  • Beans that have been dried
  • Tofu
  • Soy milk with calcium-fortified orange juice
  • Salmon, tuna, and mackerel are examples of fatty fish.
  • Yolks of eggs
  • Liver of beef

Consult your doctor if you’re experiencing lactose intolerance symptoms. If you’ve been diagnosed with it, talk to your doctor about ways to make sure you’re eating properly.

 

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