A common condition for many that usually does not compromise their health. However, you should recognize when it is time to go to the doctor.
Being lactose intolerant means that your body does not produce enough lactase, the enzyme in charge of processing that sugar in the body. Such a lactase deficit generates uncomfortable symptoms in a person’s digestive track, such as abdominal swelling or pain, diarrhea, gas, nausea, stomach noises, or vomiting.
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), this happens because undigested lactose passes into the colon. There, bacteria break it down creating fluids and gases, producing the symptoms of lactose intolerance.
The institute also clarifies that this condition is quite common in adults and rarely becomes dangerous. According to figures from the U.S. National Library of Medicine, approximately 30 million American adults have some degree of lactose intolerance by the age of 20.
If you or your child has symptoms and you need information on alternative foods, you can consider some such as milk butter and cheeses (which contain less lactose than milk), fermented milk products such as yogurt, goat’s milk, or aged hard cheeses.
However, there are recognizable symptoms that may let you know when you should consult a doctor:
- If you have an infant under the age of 2 or 3 who shows symptoms of lactose intolerance.
- If your child is growing slowly or not gaining weight.
- If symptoms worsen or do not improve with treatment.
- If new symptoms are developed.
Continue reading: Writing down what you eat can help you deal with an irritable colon