Lactose intolerance occurs when a person experiences symptoms when processing foods with lactose.
People who are intolerant to lactose and consume products that contain it may experience abdominal pain, diarrhea, gas, and nausea. The good news, if you make a good selection of foods, they disappear.
This article describes the symptoms of lactose intolerance, what types there are, and what you should do in these cases.
What is lactose intolerance?
Lactose intolerance is the inability of the body to digest the sugar in milk.
A person with lactose intolerance lacks a particular enzyme: lactase. In these cases, lactose cannot be digested, and the body overreacts and triggers a series of unpleasant symptoms.
Lactose intolerance is genetic and ethnic in origin. It is estimated that around 65% of the world’s population suffers from lactose intolerance in adulthood. (3)
It reaches America and East Asia; the values exceed 90%. (3)
European and Caucasian populations tend to have lower levels of lactose intolerance since their people have been in contact with lactose products for longer.
Types of lactose intolerance
There are four types of lactose intolerance: primary, secondary, developmental, and congenital. While all classes have similar symptoms, the causes can be different. The types of lactose intolerance are:
- Primary lactose intolerance occurs when the amount of lactase decreases as people age.
- Secondary lactose intolerance is due to injury to the small intestine, such as infection, celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, or other diseases.
- Developmental lactose intolerance can occur in premature babies and generally improves within a short period.
- Congenital lactose intolerance is a sporadic genetic disorder in which little or no lactase is produced from birth.
Symptoms of lactose intolerance
Symptoms of lactose intolerance occur approximately 30-45 minutes after ingesting lactose-containing foods. They vary depending on the degree of discrimination, the amount in food, motility of the digestive tract, interaction with other foods, etc.
If any of these symptoms appear after eating foods with lactose, a clinical test is recommended to confirm or rule out that milk sugar is the cause. The symptoms of lactose intolerance are:
- Stomach ache
- Acne and skin rashes
- Headaches and dizziness
Are lactose intolerance and milk allergy the same?
Lactose intolerance and milk allergy are not synonymous. Milk allergy is the body’s hypersensitivity to milk protein – casein. This has nothing to do with the sugar in milk: lactose.
People who are allergic to milk should completely abandon dairy products (including butter and cheese), including all foods labeled “lactose-free.”
Casein is a protein analogous to gluten in wheat. The most common symptoms are different: heartburn, diarrhea, skin pain, and respiratory attacks.
I have lactose intolerance – what should I do?
In most cases, lactose intolerance is solved by limiting the consumption of milk and all foods with lactose.
Even though lactose intolerance has no cure, Yes, it is possible to help the body in the digestion process with medicines. Some dietary supplements and capsules contain isolated lactase.
Medications for lactose intolerant are taken immediately before meals. The enzyme lactase must be in the stomach before eating lactose-containing food. Lactase preparations are suitable for babies and children fed with milk or dietary supplements.
Can I lack calcium?
A common problem caused by lactose intolerance is a lack of calcium. By eliminating dairy, this problem is more prevalent.
Remember that foods rich in calcium are not only dairy but can also be found in broccoli, nuts, sardines, and spinach.
If you have lactose intolerance and eliminate milk sugar foods, make sure that your diet is complete and balanced.
Lactose intolerance is the body’s inability to process the sugar in milk. A person with lactose intolerance has problems with the enzyme responsible for this process, lactase.
The most common lactose intolerance symptoms are: bloating, stomach pain, diarrhea, vomiting, acne, skin rashes, headaches, and dizziness.
The term milk allergy is not equivalent to lactose intolerance. Milk allergy is hypersensitivity to milk protein, not sugar.
Lactose intolerance has no cure. However, some medications can help relieve symptoms.