Stomach pain, cramps, gas, bloating and diarrhea that occurs after you have eaten dairy products might indicate that you have lactose intolerance.
Lactose is a sugar found in milk and dairy products that cannot be digested by those who are intolerant to it. Children with eczema are often lactose intolerant. People who have a permanent form of lactose intolerance do not make lactase, an enzyme that breaks down dairy products during digestion. You also can suffer from a temporary form of the condition, also referred to as secondary lactose intolerance.
Gastrointestinal Disruption – Temporary lactose intolerance can be the result of several gastrointestinal disruptions that might occur at certain times during your life. Viruses, such as the stomach flu, can temporarily shut off the lactase enzyme, interrupting your normal digestion of dairy products. If you suffer from other food intolerances or allergies, such as to wheat or gluten, your digestive tract might be more susceptible to irritation and injury, and your intestines could stop producing lactase for a period. People who have chronic medical conditions affecting the digestive tract, such as Crohn’s disease or cystic fibrosis, also could become either temporarily or permanently lactose intolerant.
Solutions – The solution to temporary lactose intolerance is to adopt the lifestyle you would follow if you were permanently affected by the condition. Taking over-the-counter digestive enzymes before consuming milk and other dairy products provides the lactase you need to digest such foods comfortably. Infants who cannot tolerate breast milk or regular infant formulas might be fed soy formulas or other alternatives. Keeping a food diary to determine which foods cause the most symptoms can help you determine which foods to reduce from your diet and might help you recognize when your lactose intolerance has resolved itself.
Further Information! Don’t confuse lactose intolerance with dairy allergy, they are different things. With dairy allergies, the person will suffer an allergic reaction to the proteins from the milk, whereas lactose intolerance is a problem with digestion.
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