What is lactose?

Lactose is the sugar that is present in milk naturally. An enzyme called lactase is produced in the small intestine to help break down this sugar, this breakage makes it easier for our body to absorb it.

What is lactose intolerance?

Lactose intolerance is a condition in which people are unable to digest the sugar (lactose) in milk. As a result when these people consume dairy products they start getting diarrhoea and other symptoms.

It is usually because the bodies of lactose intolerant people aren’t producing enough amounts of lactase (an enzyme) which helps in breaking down lactose.

Which foods contain lactose?

Following dairy products contain lactose:

  1. Cow’s milk
  2. Goat’s milk
  3. Icecream
  4. Yoghurts of all types
  5. Cheese of all types
  6. Butter

Seek advice from General Physician in Karachi if you are scared to miss out on major nutrients by dropping dairy products out of your diet. They will prescribe any necessary supplements and let you know about tons of substitutes to dairy products.

What are the types of lactose intolerance?

Below mentioned are the four types of lactose intolerance:

1.     Primary lactose intolerance:

This is the most common type of lactose intolerance. People diagnosed with this condition are generally born with enough amounts of lactase but with the passage of time and the diets they consume their bodies decrease the production of lactase.

2.     Secondary lactose intolerance:

Secondary lactose intolerance is usually a result of a disease or an injury to the small intestine. If the underlying condition is treated, lactase levels are restored.

3.     Congenital lactose intolerance:

Congenital lactose intolerance is usually inherited by babies from their parents and is a result of a faulty gene. In this condition babies are born with no supply of lactase in their bodies and as soon as human milk or formula is introduced they start having symptoms of diarrhoea. If this condition is not treated timely it can be life-threatening for infants.

4.     Developmental lactose intolerance:

Developmental lactose intolerance is found in babies who are born prematurely. It is because lactose production only begins after 34 weeks.

What are the indicating signs of lactose intolerance?

Lactose intolerant people start getting symptoms of lactose intolerance within 30 minutes to 2 hours of consuming any dairy products. These symptoms are:

  • diarrhoea
  • vomiting and nausea
  • cramps in the stomach
  • gas
  • bloating

These symptoms range from mild to severe depending on how much lactose is consumed and the amount of lactase being produced in the body.

How can lactose intolerance be diagnosed?

If after consuming dairy products you are having symptoms of lactose intolerance then you should see a doctor immediately. Following are the methods of diagnosis that are used for diagnosing lactose intolerance:

  1. Lactose intolerance test
  2. Hydrogen breath test
  3. Stool acidity test

What is the treatment for lactose intolerance?

If you are not someone who wants to give up on dairy products then General Physician in Lahore recommends these natural treatment options that can help

●       Lactose exposure:

If you start including lactose in your diet regularly then there is a very high chance that your body will adapt to it. Studies show that regular exposure to lactose will eventually train your gut to tolerate it.

●       Prebiotics and probiotics:

Prebiotics are a type of dietary fibre that act as food for bacteria in your gut. As a result your gut produces nutrients for your colon cells which strengthens your digestive system.

Probiotics are a combination of alive bacteria that is prescribed when you have an infection and there is an increase in the amount of bad bacteria in your body.

Both prebiotics and probiotics work wonders if taken regularly in reducing symptoms of lactose intolerance.

●       Enzyme supplements:

Some doctors prescribe enzyme supplements which lactose intolerant people need to swallow in the form of tablets or drops which they need to mix in their food or drinks. The effectiveness of these supplements is variable.

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