Lactose intolerance


Abdomen | Gastroenterology | Lactose intolerance (Disease)


Description

Lactose intolerance, also called lactase deficiency and hypolactasia, is the inability to digest lactose, a sugar found in milk and to a lesser extent milk-derived dairy products.

In most cases this causes symptoms such as abdominal bloating and cramps, flatulence, diarrhea, nausea, borborygmi (rumbling stomach) and/or vomiting after consuming significant amounts of lactose.

Causes and Risk factors

Lactose intolerant individuals have insufficient levels of lactase, the enzyme that metabolizes lactose into glucose and galactose, in their digestive system. Some studies suggest that milk consumption by lactose intolerant individuals may be a significant cause of irritable bowel syndrome.

Diagnosis and Treatment

There are three types of tests that can be performed to diagnose lactose intolerance: lactose tolerance test, hydrogen breath test, and stool acidity test.

Treatment consists in avoiding eating foods high in lactose. The missing enzyme lactase can be taken as a pill prior to eating a meal high in lactose and some find relief with this remedy. ...