LACTOSE INTOLERANCE: Things you must know about milk

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If you have funny bowel movements or you feel like visiting the toilet each time
you drink milk or yoghurt, it may be because you are lactose intolerant. This happens because of the inability of your small intestine to make enough of an enzyme called lactase which breaks down and digests lactose which is the major sugar in milk or milk products.

 

CAUSES

1. Age: As you are getting older, your lactase level decreases. The amount of lactase produced by the body reduces with time. This is as a result of a decrease in milk intake over time; as babies, milk is our main meal but as we grow, we eat other food types and reduce our milk intake. The body gradually adapts to the change and reduces the production of lactase.
2. Hereditary: In some cases, lactase deficiency is inherited, leading to the complete absence of lactase. This type is symptomatic from infancy; babies that are affected willbe intolerant of breast milk or formulas containing milk (lactose). The diarrhea they have can be life threatening.
3. Diseases/Injury: Intestinal diseases and Injury to the small intestine can cause loss of lactase enzyme and thus lactose intolerance.

 

SYMPTOMS OF LACTOSE INTOLERANCE

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1.Diarrhoea

2.Bloating

3.Stomach ache

4.Nausea/Vomiting

 

TREATMENT

Lactose free milk (photocredit: gettyimages.com)

1. Avoid consuming lactose containing food types.

2. You can buy lactose-free milk or yoghurts from stores
3. Buy lactase enzyme pills from pharmacy stores and use them before taking milk or yoghurt. You can also add little to your milk or yoghurt.
4. In the case of intestinal disease or injury, the lactase level can return to normal if the disease or injury is treated.
5. New born babies that are lactose intolerance can be given lactose-free infant formula.