Ignoring lactose intolerance can exacerbate the symptoms or cause additional health problems. It may also affect someone’s quality of life and mood.
Lactose intolerance, which results from the inability to break down lactose properly,
This article explores lactose intolerance in more detail, including its causes, symptoms, and treatment. It also discusses what may happen if someone keeps consuming dairy.
Lactose intolerance is a condition that
An enzyme called lactase digests the sugar in dairy products, which helps the body absorb and utilize it. However, people with lactose intolerance produce either insufficient lactase or none at all.
A lack of the enzyme leads to lactose malabsorption, which results in unpleasant digestive symptoms. Lactose intolerance is not the same as a milk or dairy allergy. Food allergies involve an inappropriate immune response to certain foods.
Symptoms of lactose intolerance can appear between
- abdominal bloating
- nausea or vomiting
- pain in the abdomen
rumblingor growling sounds in the stomach
Less commonly, people may experience muscle or joint pain, a headache, or loss of concentration.
Causes of lactose intolerance
Lactose intolerance occurs when someone has a deficiency of the enzyme lactase.
Scientists believe that there are
Primary lactase deficiency
Secondary lactase deficiency
Injury to the cells lining the intestines
- Crohn’s disease
- ulcerative colitis
- celiac disease
- antibiotics or other medications
Congenital lactase deficiency
In rare cases, someone
Developmental lactase deficiency
Infants born prematurely
If someone with a lactose intolerance continues to consume too much lactose, they may experience worsened symptoms, lower mood, and a reduced quality of life.
Chronic diarrhea may lead to
Additionally, someone with lactose intolerance who only gets calcium from dairy products
Doctors treat and manage lactose intolerance in various ways.
People may be able to eat smaller amounts of Greek yogurt or hard cheeses, as they contain less lactose. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) suggests that some people may be able to tolerate
Additionally, people should be aware that manufacturers or restaurants may add dairy to foods such as:
Someone with lactose intolerance can consume the beneficial nutrients in milk by choosing lactose-free or lactose-reduced types. Additionally, they may wish to purchase plant-based milk and dairy products as an alternative.
Although the current body of research is inconclusive, probiotics have shown positive results in treating lactose intolerance. Particular
Treatment of an underlying condition
If lactose intolerance occurs due to an underlying digestive condition, a doctor
Avoiding all dairy products is the only way for people with lactose intolerance to prevent symptoms.
People can choose plant-based alternatives to dairy products, but they should be mindful of
Other people with lactose intolerance may be able to tolerate smaller amounts of dairy products with no symptoms.
Below are some common questions about lactose intolerance.
How can someone prevent lactose intolerance?
Avoiding all dairy products is the only way to prevent lactose intolerance. However, someone
Are there stages of lactose intolerance?
What are the symptoms of lactose intolerance?
- gas and bloating
- nausea or vomiting
- abdominal pain
People who ignore their lactose intolerance and continue to eat too many dairy products risk exacerbating their symptoms and developing further health complications.
Lactose intolerance symptoms may affect a person’s quality of life and mood. For example, chronic diarrhea may lead to malnutrition, dehydration, or anemia.
A doctor may advise people with lactose intolerance to manage their condition with dietary modifications, lactase supplements, and dairy alternatives. However, they should be mindful of eating enough nutrients to support healthy bones and prevent osteoporosis.