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18 years
How can I know if I'm lactose intolerant or not?
Aug 5, 2013

Dr. Zakia Dimassi Pediatrics
Lactose intolerance is also known as lactase deficiency. It's a disorder in which the affected individual is unable to fully digest lactose (the sugar found in milk and in dairy products). It is usually caused by low levels of the enzyme lactase in your small intestine which is responsible for the digestion of lactose into two simple sugars — glucose and galactose — which can be absorbed into your bloodstream.
Without lactase deficiency, most of the lactose in your food moves unprocessed into the colon, where the normal intestinal bacteria interact with it. This causes the hallmarks of lactose intolerance — gas, bloating and diarrhea.
There are three types of lactose intolerance.It's usually a benign condition, but symptoms of lactose intolerance can be quite uncomfortable, and these include:
abdominal pain
abdominal bloating
nausea +/- vomiting
DIagnosis is made via the following methods:
-Lactose tolerance test: tests the body's reaction to a liquid that contains high levels of lactose. Two hours after liquid ingestion, if your blood glucose level doesn't go up, it means your body isn't properly digesting and absorbing the lactose-filled drink.
-Hydrogen breath test: you drink a liquid that contains high levels of lactose, then the amount of hydrogen in your breath is measured at regular intervals. Normally, very little hydrogen is detectable. However, if your body doesn't digest the lactose, it will ferment in the colon, releasing hydrogen and other gases, which are absorbed by your intestines and eventually exhaled, which signifies that you aren't fully digesting and absorbing lactose.
-Stool acidity test. For infants and children who can't undergo other tests, a stool acidity test may be used. The fermenting of undigested lactose produces lactic acid and other acids that can be detected in a stool sample.
Treatment is mainly Avoidance of milk and dairy products.