Lactose intolerance is a condition that occurs when the body cannot digest lactose. In some people, this condition may cause constipation, among other symptoms.

Constipation is a condition in which bowel movements are infrequent or hard to pass. It can also be a symptom of other medical conditions, including lactose intolerance.

Lactose is a sugar in milk and dairy products that the lactase enzyme breaks down.

Lactose intolerance is a digestive disorder that affects about 68% of the world’s population. It is due to a shortage of lactase, which is responsible for breaking down the sugar in milk.

Lactase breaks down lactose into glucose and galactose, which the cells in the small intestine then absorb.

A person with this condition cannot digest milk and other dairy products because their gut lacks this enzyme.

This article will explore whether lactose intolerance can cause constipation, lactose intolerance symptoms, how to manage and treat lactose intolerance, other causes of constipation, and how to treat constipation.

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Lactase breaks down lactose into two simple sugars — glucose and galactose. The body can easily absorb glucose, not galactose, since it has to go through another process first — gluconeogenesis. Galactose ends up in the large intestine, where it ferments, which can cause gas and bloating.

In some people, lactose intolerance can also cause constipation. However, this is a rarer symptom than diarrhea. Some people think that when people with lactose intolerance consume dairy products, the bacteria in their guts produce more gas than usual. The excess gas slows down how quickly food passes through the intestines, causing constipation.

Some people experience various gastrointestinal symptoms when they consume foods containing lactose. These may include:

  • abdominal cramps
  • borborygmi
  • bloating
  • diarrhea
  • gas
  • nausea
  • vomiting

Other people may experience no symptoms or only minor ones, such as bloating or gas, after consuming dairy products containing lactose.

People with lactose intolerance may also end up with conditions such as osteoporosis if they do not consume enough foods containing calcium. Soy is a great substitute for dairy and is lactose-free. It also provides calcium, so it may be a good option for avoiding osteoporosis.

People can also take calcium supplements. However, speaking with their doctors before starting any supplements can help ensure supplements are right for them.

There are various ways of managing lactose intolerance symptoms. For example, people can avoid eating or drinking products containing lactose or take medication that contains lactase.

In some cases, a person might consume small amounts of lactose without experiencing any side effects.

Researchers find that people with lactose intolerance can usually handle up to 0.4 ounces (oz) of lactose in one go or up to 0.8 oz of lactose if they eat it over the course of one day. About one glass of milk is 4 oz of lactose, and two glasses are 8 oz.

People can manage the symptoms of lactose intolerance by:

  • avoiding milk and dairy product consumption
  • drinking plenty of fluids to help with hydration
  • taking over-the-counter (OTC) lactase medications to relieve symptoms, such as Lactaid
  • taking probiotics, which are live bacteria that help the gut stay healthy

People can also try eating small amounts of dairy products and gradually increasing their intakes over time to see if their bodies can tolerate them better.

If someone is trying to avoid lactose, reading the ingredients on food packing can help them make sure that none of the following ingredients are present:

  • milk solids
  • nonfat milk solids
  • whey
  • milk sugar

The above all contain lactose and can cause digestive issues in people with lactose intolerance.

Constipation is a condition that occurs when the person has fewer than three bowel movements a week. In some cases, it could be as little as one bowel movement in a week. Constipation can affect anyone at any age. However, it is most common in children and older adults.

The causes of constipation are different for everyone. Some common causes of constipation include:

  • certain medical conditions, such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease
  • certain medications, such as antidepressants and antacids
  • hormonal changes, such as pregnancy or menopause
  • inadequate fluid intake
  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • a lack of physical activity
  • a diet with few nutrients, including fiber

People can treat constipation with medications, supplements, dietary changes, and home remedies.

  • Medications: There are many treatments for constipation, including OTC drugs, such as laxatives or stool softeners, and prescription drugs, such as stimulant laxatives.
  • Home remedies: There are also natural remedies, such as drinking more fluids, eating more high fiber foods, increasing physical activity, and practicing relaxation techniques.
  • Supplements: People can also take supplements to reduce constipation, including psyllium husks and magnesium citrate.

If people experience constipation, it is important for them to discuss it with their healthcare professionals. They can work together to devise an appropriate treatment plan.

Some people with lactose intolerance can consume small amounts of dairy without any symptoms, while others have trouble even with small amounts. There is currently no cure for lactose intolerance. However, people can use many strategies to manage the condition.

People who are lactose intolerant may not be able to eat or drink dairy products, such as ice cream or pizza. Some people can tolerate small amounts of dairy without any problems, so it is worth experimenting with different foods to find out what works best for each individual.

For people with this condition, there are many substitutes for milk that do not contain any lactose at all. These include soy milk, almond milk, rice milk, and more. There are also many foods without dairy products, such as eggs or breads, that people with the condition can eat without worry.

Lactose intolerance is a condition in which the body has trouble digesting lactose, a type of sugar in milk and other dairy products. This can cause gas, abdominal pain, bloating, nausea and vomiting, and constipation.

Symptoms of lactose intolerance can vary from person to person. Some people may not experience any symptoms at all. Others may have mild or severe symptoms that come and go or are constant.