Lactose is a form of sugar that is found in milk products. In the small intestine, major food digestion takes place and nutrient absorption also occurs in this part. Here in small intestine, an enzyme ”lactase” production takes place. The function of lactase is to break down lactose into simpler sugar: galactose and glucose. Thus, after this breakdown body absorbs these sugars into the bloodstream.
What is lactose intolerance?
It is a condition in which a person may suffer multiple symptoms like diarrhea, bloating and gas after eating or drinking any of the product made from milk. The deficiency of lactase enzyme and lactose malabsorption is the reason behind it.
- Lactase deficiency: the low or no production of lactase in small intestine may cause the body to resist the absorption of lactose.
- Lactose malabsorption: the deficiency of lactase cause lactose malabsorption. In this, the undigested lactose passes directly to colon. Colon is the large intestine’s part that absorbs water.
Every individual has the different potential to absorb lactose. It varies from person to person. Some can digest a little amount of lactose without any digestive disturbance. Lactose intolerance is confused with milk allergy also. Milk allergy is actually a reaction of the body due to any milk protein whereas the lactose intolerance is caused due to the absence of lactase enzyme. Milk allergies may show symptoms in the first year whereas lactose intolerance may develop and the symptoms may show in the adolescent and adulthood years too. You may need to find and consult a doctor to diagnose and guide you about this problem.
Symptoms of Lactose Intolerance:
Some common symptoms of lactose intolerance are:
- Abdominal pain
- Feeling of fullness
- Swelling in the abdomen
These symptoms vary from person to person depending upon the amount of lactose a person takes in his/her diet. if these symptoms are more severe you may need to consult a gastroenterologist, to find a stomach doctor/gastroenterologist in Karachi or any other main city of Pakistan online through Marham – Find a Doctor
Management of Lactose Intolerance:
The best management of lactose intolerance is to manage the diet. A person having lactose intolerance should consult a registered dietitian for a diet plan. A diet plan is helpful in managing the symptoms of this condition and it also ensures the intake of enough nutrients.
- Milk and its products: Introducing a small amount of milk and products made of milk gradually to the child/person having lactose intolerance may help them to adopt fewer symptoms. Usually, people tolerate the milk products by having them with other meals like (cereal + milk) combinations or having a small amount of (cheese + bread). People with lactose intolerance can tolerate hard cheese such as cheddar cheese easily.
- Lactose-reduced and Lactose-free milk products: These products are available at all supermarkets easily. The manufacturers treat lactose-free milk with the lactase enzyme in it. This enzyme helps in the breakdown of lactose in milk. It may have slightly sweeter taste than the regular milk.
- Lactase products: Lactase drops and tablets are also available to cope with this condition. People can take these whenever they eat or drink milk and milk products in their meal. The lactase enzyme breakdowns the lactose and help in relieving digestive disturbances.
What products contain Lactose?
Food products contain lactose in them. Some of these foods include:
- Bread and other bakery products
- Protein bars and powders
- Milk powders
- Instant soups/noodles
- Salad dressings
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