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Lactose Intolerance in Children and Adults

Updated on December 29, 2020
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I have been an online writer for 8 years and have had lactose intolerance my whole life.

Lactose Intolerance

For people living with lactose intolerance, ingesting milk and any other dairy product can be a real pain. Lactose is milk sugar.

People who have lactose intolerance have little or no lactase enzymes to break down the lactose in dairy products. Some of the symptoms are diarrhea, bloating, cramps and gas. This can start anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours after dairy is ingested and it normally lasts for a few to several hours.

One thing that you can do to help is to prevent the symptoms, or at least most of the symptoms, by taking a lactase pill or two with your first bite of dairy. The most common lactase pill is called Lact-aid.

You can find store brand versions that cost much less, but work just as well. I normally buy Costco's Kirkland brand and it works great.

Another way to help get rid of the discomfort after you have ingested dairy is to take an anti-gas product or a Tums when you start feeling the discomfort.

If you would like to decrease the severity of discomfort over time, taking acidophilius supplements regularly helps to provide the digestive tract with beneficial bacteria which helps reduce symptoms.


Lactose Intolerance Symptoms Video

Is It Lactose Intolerance Or Milk Allergies?

Lactose intolerance should not be confused with milk allergies. Any allergy to a food could be life threatening. Lactose intolerance is not life threatening, but it does cause a bit of discomfort.

If you are unsure if you have lactose intolerance or allergies, you could go to the allergist to get tested. Most people know just because they have discomfort after every dairy item that they eat or drink.


Milk
Milk | Source

Why Does Dairy Cause Lactose Intolerance In Some People?

Each person with lactose intolerance can handle a different level of lactose. If you know your limits, you can build your tolerance level up by slowly ingesting a little more dairy each day. It is best to eat or drink dairy with a meal, especially if it is high in fiber.

Whole milk and high fat dairy products are better tolerated since the fat slows passage through the intestines which gives the lactose more time to break down. Also, any dairy product with sugar is a little easier to digest since the added sugar slows down the release of lactose from the stomach into the intestines.

Living with lactose intolerance can be less daunting if you carry lactase and anti-gas pills with you or take acidiphilius pills regularly. Sometimes you can't avoid dairy and in those cases, it is good to have a back-up.

Crying Baby

I a baby will not stop crying and nothing helps, they probably have lactose intolerance and need to be switched to soy milk.
I a baby will not stop crying and nothing helps, they probably have lactose intolerance and need to be switched to soy milk. | Source

Symptoms Of Lactose Intolerance In Children

If you notice that your child or baby is gassy, fussy, irritable or in pain within a few minutes to an hour after eating a dairy product and it lasts for a few hours, then they usually have lactose intolerance.

Older children can tell you that they have a pain in their belly. The best way to describe the pain is like their stomach is a balloon that is so full of air that it is going to burst.

If you hear them making a comment like that, it could be pain from the gas build-up in their bellies from eating or drinking dairy.

World map of lactose intolerance

World map of lactose intolerance.
World map of lactose intolerance. | Source

Symptoms Of Lactose Intolerance In Adults

Lactose intolerance in adults is similar to what kids experience.

Symptoms include:

- Gas built up in the stomach

- Flatulence

- Pain in the stomach as if the stomach was full of air and it was ready to explode

If you have lactose intolerance, you will know it. You will always have sever pain in the stomach region from the gas expansion in your stomach and intestines and you will have a lot of flatulence. If you experience this each time you have a dairy product, then you have lactose intolerance.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2012 Melanie Casey

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