Lactose intolerance

Lactose intolerance is a common digestive problem where the body is unable to digest lactose, a type of sugar mainly found in milk and dairy products. usually not dangerous, but symptoms of lactose intolerance can be uncomfortable. Symptoms of lactose intolerance include: a bloated stomach, flatulence (wind), diarrhoea.

An intolerance is not the same as a food allergy. If you’re allergic to something, even a tiny particle can be enough to trigger a reaction, while most people with lactose intolerance can still consume small amounts of lactose with no ill-effects. The amount of lactose a person can consume can change, sometimes sharply, from person to person.

You can control symptoms of lactose intolerance by carefully choosing a diet that limits dairy products.

What causes lactose intolerance?

A deficiency of lactase — an enzyme produced by the lining of your small intestine — is usually responsible for lactose intolerance. Many people have low levels of lactase, but only those who also have associated signs and symptoms have, by definition, lactose intolerance. Levels of lactase often fall as people grow older and some health conditions can also reduce the production of lactase.

Factors that can make people more prone to lactose intolerance include:

(1) Increasing age: Lactose intolerance becomes more common as you age - the condition is uncommon in babies and young children.
(2) Ethnicity: Lactose intolerance is most common in black, Asian, Hispanic and American Indian people.
(3) Premature birth: Infants born prematurely may have reduced levels of lactase because this enzyme increases in the fetus late in the third trimester.
(4) Diseases affecting the small intestine: Small intestine problems that can cause lactose intolerance include bacterial overgrowth, celiac disease and Crohns disease.
(5) Certain cancer treatments: If you have received radiation therapy for cancer in your abdomen or have intestinal complications from chemotherapy, you have an increased risk of lactose intolerance....