Lactose Intolerance

Lactose Intolerance


Lactose intolerance is a genetic predisposition, wherein the patient is unable to digest lactose, the main carbohydrate found in dairy products. The condition is not harmful but may be uncomfortable and embarrassing. There is no cure for this condition, but it can be managed by limiting or eliminating dairy products from the patient’s diet.

Signs and symptoms

The symptoms of lactose intolerance usually begin about 30-60 mins after ingesting dairy products. They include bloating, diarrhoea, stomach cramps, vomiting and gas.

Causes and risk factors

Lactose intolerance occurs when the small intestine doesn’t produce enough lactase to digest lactose in dairy. This undigested lactose moves to the colon and interacts with the bacteria causing uncomfortable symptoms. Lactose intolerance can be present in infancy, or it may be developed in adulthood. Premature babies and patients with Crohn’s or Coeliac disease are at a higher risk of lactose intolerance.


Lactose intolerance in infants, if left unaddressed, can lead to malnutrition.


The doctor could diagnose lactose intolerance based on the patient medical history, symptoms and the patient’s response to eliminating dairy from their diet. The doctor may choose to verify the diagnosis with a Hydrogen Breath test or a Lactose tolerance test.

Treatment and Surgical Interventions

There is no cure for lactose intolerance. If it is caused by another underlying condition, treatment of that condition could help. Otherwise, the patient is advised to avoid lactose in their diet.


Lactose intolerance cannot be prevented.


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