Lactose Intolerance: Symptoms, causes and management of the problem related to dairy products

Lactose intolerance is a condition when your body can’t digest milk or any dairy products and produce gas and cause other physical discomforts. So, Karishma Shah, Integrative Health Nutritionist and Holistic Wellness Coach, talks about its symptoms, causes and management.

Updated on May 31, 2021 10:04 AM IST  |  542.1K
Things to know about Lactose Intolerance
Things to know about Lactose Intolerance
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Have you noticed your child complaining of an upset stomach or stomach ache after eating ice cream or a glass of milk or bowl of curd? It is because they are lactose intolerant. Now the question which automatically arises is that what is this lactose intolerant. Lactose is milk sugar found in milk and other dairy products, such as yogurt, cheese, ice cream and any other foods that might contain milk. So, Karishma Shah, Integrative Health Nutritionist and Holistic Wellness Coach, opines on what is lactose intolerant and how to cope with it.

What is Lactase?

Lactase is the enzyme present in your small intestine that helps with the breakdown of lactose during digestion. This enzyme breaks lactose into two simple sugars, i.e. glucose and galactose. In the simplest forms, the sugar can be absorbed readily in the body for energy. When the body does not produce and release enough lactase enzyme, lactose remains unbroken in the small intestine. This undigested lactose becomes a substrate for the gut microbiome to ferment and produce gas.

Symptoms of lactose intolerance after having any dairy products:


1. Abdominal/Lower belly pain.

2. Loose stools /diarrhea.

3. Stomach bloating and gurgling sound in the tummy.

4. Nausea.

5. Gas.

6. Skin rash.

Causes of Lactose Intolerance

Lactose is found in breast milk, and most children have sufficient lactase when they are born and can comfortably digest lactose in breast milk. But a severe infection or allergic reaction can cause a temporary deficit of the lactase enzyme and result in lactose intolerance at any age.

In most cases, lactose intolerance can develop idiopathically or without any known cause by the time the child is between 3-6 years of age.


How to manage lactose intolerance?

The most effective strategy for the management of lactose intolerance is the elimination of milk and dairy products. This raises concerns about our calcium requirements especially in kids. But the main fact is it is a myth that dairy is the only good source of calcium. Our daily calcium needs can be compensated by plant-based sources like sesame seeds, almonds, tofu, ragi, soy, amaranth, etc.

But in some cases, people are unable to tolerate only milk but can easily digest other dairy products like yoghurt, cheese, ice creams, cottage cheese, etc. So, people should always consult a doctor and a nutritionist to have a healthy and nutritious diet plan accordingly.

Also Read: Irritable Bowel Syndrome: How a well balanced nutrition can improve the symptoms of the condition?

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