What is lactose intolerance?

Your body needs to produce the enzyme lactase to break down the lactose. When you have lactose intolerance, it means your body doesn’t make enough or nothing of this enzyme. So the lactose gets to your large intestine without being digested. This will cause uncomfortable symptoms like belly pain, gas, bloating, diarrhea and nausea.

It differs from one person to another how bad your intolerance is. Some people can’t digest any milk products. Other people can eat or drink small amounts of milk or milk product, without all the problems.

 

What causes lactose intolerance?

There are 4 types: primary, secondary, developmental and congenital.

Primary lactose intolerance: This is the most common one. It develops with age; as you get older, your body is gonna produces less and less lactase.

Secondary lactose intolerance: This is due to injury to the small intestine such as IBS, infection, after surgery or other.

Developmental lactose intolerance: This can happen with premature babies. They’re not able to produce lactase yet, but this will get better with time.

Congenital lactose intolerance: This is the most rare one. It means from birth there’s no produce of the lactase enzyme. If you’re born with it, you can’t digest any product that contains lactose.

Symptoms lactose intolerance

Symptoms of lactose intolerance differ from one person to another. It can be mild to severe, depends how much lactase your body produces. Symptoms may occur after 30 minutes after eating or drinking milk, it can also take as long as 2 hours.

The symptoms that most occur are:

Cramps

Gas

Abdominal pain

Rumbling sounds in your belly

Bloating

Diarrhea

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