Lactose intolerance is when there is not enough lactase in the small intestine. Lactase is an enzyme responsible for digesting lactose, a sugar present in milk and dairy.
It should be borne in mind that this disorder is different from an allergy to dairy products since lactose intolerance is not an allergic reaction but rather a problem directly related to the lack of this enzyme. For this reason, the symptoms are different from those of a person who suffers from this food allergy.
This lactase deficiency is quite common during adulthood; that is why at FastlyHealwe explain everything you need to know about lactose intolerance, its symptoms, and treatment.
Causes of lactase deficiency
There are two types of lactose intolerance, one genetic that is progressive and incurable, and the other that is temporary and can be cured. In both cases, the doctor should be consulted for a diagnosis and adequate treatment; only a specialist can confirm the existence of this condition and provide us with the appropriate treatment for our case.
This type of condition produces a progressive loss of the production of the enzyme lactase, which generates an increasing deterioration of the ability to digest lactose. As there is no cure since the enzyme cannot be recovered, symptoms are alleviated if dairy products are discontinued in the diet.
The second type of lactose intolerance occurs due to other diseases, so when the person has been cured, the problem with the lactase enzyme disappears once the intestinal mucosa has regenerated. Some of the conditions that cause lactase deficiency are:
- Viruses, parasites, or bacteria cause intestinal issues.
- Intestinal diseases such as irritable bowel.
- Surgical operations of the small intestine.
- Celiac disease.
- Advanced diabetes.
- Anorexia or bulimia.
Symptoms of lactose intolerance
The symptoms of lactose intolerance are not specific and can occur in various gastrointestinal diseases. To get rid of the doubt, you should go to the doctor for a correct diagnosis. However, lactose intolerance can be suspected if symptoms always appear after ingesting, between 30 minutes to 2 hours later, milk or derivatives such as yogurt, ice cream, or cheese. These symptoms can be:
- Abdominal pain and bloating
- Pasty stools or diarrhea
- Redness in the perianal area.
The symptoms and severity of the condition vary in each person. This depends on the amount of lactose consumed and the degree of insufficiency of the lactase enzyme of each individual.
Treatment for lactose intolerance
No drug treatment is needed for lactose intolerance. Treatment is limited to reducing the consumption of dairy products, which is sufficient for the vast majority of cases.
For this disease at a more severe level, the patient needs to suspend the consumption of dairy products entirely; there are products such as lactose-free milk or vegetable alternatives such as soy, almonds, or rice. In addition, you can also opt for lactose-free yogurt and the consumption in small quantities of cured cheeses, which contain a deficient presence of this sugar and are usually well-tolerated, in small amounts, by patients with this condition. In these cases, it is necessary to include in the diet foods rich in calcium such as tofu, salmon, sardines, spinach, and broccoli; in addition, the specialist will indicate whether or not the intake of calcium supplements is necessary.
Additionally, it is advisable to be exposed to the sun at times and with the recommended precautions to promote the absorption of vitamin D. In some places, lactase supplements are marketed that help digest dairy better, but it is recommended to use them occasionally for specific cases, always consulting with a specialist before consumption.
This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any condition or discomfort.
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I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.