Lactose Intolerance – Digestive Disorder Causes, Risks and Treatment

If you are the one who experiences bloating, gas, diarrhea or similar symptoms after drinking milk or consuming milk products, you may be suffering from the condition- Lactose Intolerance. Though the condition is not very serious, its symptoms can be uncomfortable. But the good thing is that it can be easily managed without the need […]

If you are the one who experiences bloating, gas, diarrhea or similar symptoms after drinking milk or consuming milk products, you may be suffering from the condition- Lactose Intolerance. Though the condition is not very serious, its symptoms can be uncomfortable. But the good thing is that it can be easily managed without the need of giving up dairy products. You just need to have complete knowledge about the condition, its causes, symptoms and treatment.

This write-up covers all the important things you need to know about lactose intolerance. So, read on and ensure to follow the necessary procedure before the condition gets worse.

Lactose Intolerance – What the condition is all about?

It is a condition in which the patient’s body is not able to digest the sugar found in milk and milk products. This sugar is known as lactose. The condition has no cure however, the patients can have control over it by limiting the intake of milk and milk products.

Our bodies produce an enzyme called lactase which helps in the breakdown and absorption of lactose in our body. The patients suffering from lactose intolerance don’t have enough lactase to absorb lactose completely.

❓ Causes of Lactose Intolerance

Talking about the lactose intolerance causes, they vary from person to person. While some develop it because of genetics, the others experience it because of their body’s inability to produce lactase or utilize it properly for lactose absorption. Depending on the causes, lactose intolerance can be classified into the following types:

This type of lactase deficiency is genetically inherited and is usually experienced before the age of 20 years. In this, lactase production drops sharply making it difficult for the person to absorb lactose.

It is the condition when the person is unable to produce enough lactase because of genetic mutation. The chances of premature infants to have lactose intolerance are more as they have insufficient lactase level.

It is the condition when a person has normal lactase production in his body but it does not work for lactose absorption. Thus, even after having proper lactase level, the person cannot absorb lactose effectively.

🤒 Symptoms of Lactose intolerance

Usually, the symptoms of lactose intolerance appear within a duration of 30 minutes- 2 hours after drinking milk or consuming other dairy products which contain lactose. And the severity of symptoms depends on the levels of lactose you consumed and levels of lactase produced by your body. The most common symptoms are:

In case you experience any of these symptoms, you must get yourself diagnosed for lactose intolerance before the condition gets worse.

⚠️ Lactose Intolerance Risks

Lactose is important for the body as it helps in the absorption of vitamins and minerals, like zinc and magnesium. And their absorption is important for the development of healthy and strong bones. In case you are lactose intolerance, it becomes difficult for your body to absorb essential minerals and vitamins, and this further can put you at the risk of other diseases. If left untreated for long, lactose intolerance may lead to the development of the below-mentioned conditions:

As lactose intolerance will make it difficult for your body to absorb the essential nutrients, your body will suffer from malnutrition and will not work properly. And if it happens, you can face depression, fatigue and even your body will take longer to heal wounds.

Lack of nutrients can lead to weight loss which itself is a symptom and cause of many diseases.

🤢 Osteopenia and osteoporosis

If not managed on time, lactose intolerance can lead to a condition- Osteopenia. It is the condition when you have low bone mineral density. And if osteopenia is not treated on time, it can make your bones weak and thin leading to the condition known as osteoporosis. It means you will be at the risk of broken bones and fractures.

👨‍⚕️ Treatment

Although we know that lactose intolerance occurs due to the insufficient level of lactase, there is no way to increase lactase production in your body. So, the lactose intolerance treatment involves different ways by which you can maintain the right lactose levels in your body and absorb the essential nutrients. These ways are:

  • You can take low-fat or non-fat milk products having less lactose as all the dairy products do not contain the same level of lactose.
  • You can take a lactase enzyme supplement before drinking milk or taking other dairy products having lactose. These supplements are available in the form of pills, capsules, drops and even chewable form or if you are doing workout you can take Lactose free protein powders.
  • You can take dairy milk alternatives to reduce your intake of lactose. These include flax, almond, soy and rice milk.
  • You can take dairy-free foods rich in calcium, minerals and other essential vitamins to make sure that you get all the nutrients which you would get from milk and other dairy products.

As the treatment options vary according to the severity of the condition, you should always consult your physician for finding out the right treatment for lactose intolerance.