Treatment Options For Lactose Intolerance Are Available
Although the best treatment for lactose intolerance is to simply cut out dairy products from your diet completely, there are ways to incorporate treatment and dairy while maintaining a balanced lifestyle and healthy gut.
The most common ways to receive treatment for lactose intolerance and add dairy back into your diet, to some degree, include:
Lactose Exposure: Through a few smaller dietary studies, incorporating lactose back into your diet in small amounts may be a way to train your gut and body to handle dairy products efficiently. Work closely with your GI specialist to confirm what level of lactose your body can tolerate before reintroducing a diet full of dairy as it may cause detrimental effects if not handled properly.
Enzyme Supplements: Lactase enzyme supplements have been shown to help a variety of people who suffer from lactose intolerance. Speak with your doctor before adding gut-specific supplements to your diet and adding dairy back into your diet.
With nearly half of the United States living with lactose intolerance, dairy, although a household staple for generations, has caused quite the stir when it comes to gut health. If you or someone you know struggles with lactose intolerance and needs help managing symptoms or choosing better food options to increase calcium and boost overall gut health, contact us. We would love to help you get on the right path to better gut health today.
Am I At Risk Of Becoming Lactose Intolerant
Dr. Amin explains who is most at risk:
Click play to watch the video or read video transcript.
Who is at risk for developing lactose intolerance?
Certain groups of people are at higher risk of developing lactose intolerance, these include Jewish people, African Americans, Asians, Native Americans, and Mexicans.
Yes, it is a hereditary condition. Some people can develop it, but a lot of times, you can inherit genes from both of your parents and you can develop lactose intolerance as a teenager or as an adult.
Lactose And Its Derivatives
Lactose is a disaccharide, a principal carbohydrate found in the milk of most mammals. Human milk, the leading constituent of the diet of infants for the first few months of life, contains 6.7 wt% of lactose and is the main source of calories in milk . The molecule comprises D-glucose and D-galactose bonded with a -1,4-glycosidic bond .
Lactose, produced from cheese or casein whey, is a common component of infant formula, various dairy products, and pharmaceuticals . Lactoses synthetic derivative, lactulose, is used in the treatment of functional constipation as a second-line drug due to its osmotic properties. It was also discovered that lactulose plays an important role in infant nutrition as a Bifidus Factor that especially enhances the growth of Bifidobacterium in the intestinal tract .
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What Happens When Youre Lactose Intolerant
When someone is lactose intolerant, their small intestine does not produce enough lactase, the enzyme that digests lactose. Instead, lactose has to be broken down by bacteria that live in the large intestine. This process produces gas and other by-products, leading to the unpleasant symptoms of lactose intolerance such as bloating, abdominal pain, flatulence and diarrhea.
If youre constipated, its best to discuss the issue with your healthcare provider to make sure that the constipation is not being caused by irritable bowel syndrome , inflammatory bowel disease , diverticulosis, thyroid disease or any other condition.
Symptoms of lactose intolerance can be managed by limiting or avoiding milk products, eating lactase-fortified foods or taking lactase supplements.
What Are The Differences
Itâs not clear what causes IBS. Some doctors think it happens when the muscles around the colon donât work properly to move waste along. A problem with the signals between the brain and the nerves in the gut may also play a role. It might also happen when someone is very sensitive to triggers like some foods or stress.
Although the cause is still a mystery, doctors do know some things that can raise your risk for IBS, including:
- Infections in your intestines
- Long-term stress or emotional trauma
Lactose intolerance is better understood: The body canât digest the sugar in milk, called lactose. It happens when your body doesnât make enough of the enzyme lactase, which the gut uses to break down lactose. Itâs not a harmful condition, but it can keep you from getting the right amount of important nutrients like calcium and vitamin D, which most people get from dairy products.
The problem can run in families. Youâre also more likely to have it if you have another digestive disease, like:
- Ulcerative colitis
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How Is Lactose Intolerance Diagnosed
To diagnose lactose intolerance, doctors ask about a childâs symptoms and diet. They might test the breath for hydrogen levels before and after the child drinks lactose. Normally very little hydrogen gas is detectable in the breath. But undigested lactose in the colon breaks down and makes various gases, including hydrogen.
If your child has a hydrogen breath test, theyâll blow into a tube for a beginning sample. Then theyâll swallow a drink with lactose in it, wait a while, and breathe into the tube again. Your child will blow into the tube every half hour for 2 hours to measure hydrogen levels. The levels should go up over time if your child has lactose intolerance.
Doctors also can find out if someone can digest lactose by testing for the presence of lactase with an endoscopy. During this procedure, doctors view the inside of the intestines by inserting a long tube with a light and a tiny camera on the end into the mouth.
A doctor can then take tissue samples and pictures of the inside of the gut. The amount of lactase enzyme can be measured in one of these tissue samples.
What Are The Symptoms
IBS and lactose intolerance can both cause:
- Bloating or swelling in your belly
IBS can also cause constipation. You might have mucus in your stool or feel like you canât completely empty your colon. Symptoms can change over time and flare up, get better, or disappear.
Along with the other symptoms, lactose intolerance can cause nausea. You usually start to feel bad between 30 minutes and 2 hours after you eat milk or other dairy products.
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Constipation And Lactose Intolerance
If you believe that dairy foods act as a trigger for your constipation, it does not necessarily mean that you are lactose intolerant. In fact, it is more typical for those who are lactose intolerant to experience diarrhoea. It may also cause bloating and abdominal discomfort as a lack of the enzyme lactase, which we need in order to break down milk, causes the dairy in our system to ferment and release excess gas. Taking a probiotic supplement can be really helpful for those with a lactose intolerance, as the beneficial bacteria exert an enzyme-like activity, helping to breakdown the lactose in the milk.
What To Do If You Have Symptoms
Because the symptoms of lactose intolerance are rather general, it is important to get an accurate diagnosis before removing dairy from your diet .
In fact, many people who think they have lactose intolerance because theyâve experienced the symptoms have been shown to absorb lactose normally.
Health care providers often diagnose lactose intolerance using the hydrogen breath test. This involves ingesting 1.8 ounces of lactose and testing for elevated levels of hydrogen in the breath, which are caused by bacteria fermenting lactose in the colon (
This is because not all people with malabsorption have lactose intolerance.
Lactose intolerance is defined by the presence of reported symptoms, and that depends on how sensitive a person is to the effects of malabsorption, as well as the amount of lactose in their diet .
Treatment of lactose intolerance usually involves restriction or avoidance of high-lactose foods such as milk, cheese spread, cream and ice cream . However, people with lactose intolerance can often tolerate up to 1 cup of milk, especially when itâs spread throughout the day. This is equivalent to 0.4â0.5 ounces of lactose (
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Eczema And Other Allergic Symptoms
Finally, there is a chance that some other common allergic symptoms can be caused by lactose intolerance. Again, the research is older , but some studies suggest a connection between a persons inability to digest lactose and recurring allergy symptoms like eczema and sinus congestion.
For example, a Postgraduate Medical Journal review studied small groups of patients reporting itching, skin rashes, nasal allergy symptoms, and asthma and found that many of the patients ultimately diagnosed as lactose intolerant during the testing period reported symptoms like eczema, rhinitis, and sinusitis. If it isnt dairy, your skin problems may also be linked to these 6 Worst-Ever Foods for Your Skin.
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If you typically become bloated, or get gas or diarrhea after eating or drinking a milk product, say hello to lactose intolerance.
The condition occurs in people whose small intestine cannot digest all the lactose they eat or drink. It happens when the small intestine doesnt make enough lactase . After you consume a milk product, the lactose that didnt get digested enters your colon. Next, bacteria in your colon creates gas, which can cause you to feel bloated and develop stomach pain or diarrhea.
But there are other conditions that cause similar symptoms, including irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, and celiac disease.
Family physician Mansi Amin, DO, provides more details about lactose intolerance and how you can determine if it affects you.
Click play to watch the video or read video transcript.
What is lactose intolerance?
Lactose intolerance is the inability to digest lactose, which is a type of sugar found in milk and dairy products. Lactase is the enzyme that digests lactose. Some people lack the ability to produce lactase and some people produce very little of it.
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Lacto Can Be Taken At Each Meal When Dairy Products Are Present
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnosis, treat, prevent or cure any disease.
1 Mattar, R., Mazo, D., Carrilho, F. . Lactose intolerance: Diagnosis, genetic and clinical factors. Clinical and Experimental Gastroenterology 5:113-121. doi: 10.2147/CEG.S32368
2 NIH, Lactose Intolerance. . National Institute of Health. US Department of Health and Human Sciences. Retrieved from https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/lactose-intolerance#statistics
3 NIH, Lactose Intolerance. . National Institute of Health. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease. Retrieved from https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/lactose-intolerance
4 Saha, M., Parveen, I., Shil, B., et al. . Lactose Intolerance and Symptom Pattern of Lactose Intolerance among Healthy Volunteers. Euroasian Journal of Hepto-Gastroenterology 6: 5-7. doi: 10.5005/jp-journals-10018-1156
5 Egger J, Soothill, J.F., Carter, C.M., et al. . Is migraine food allergy? A double-blind placebo-controlled trial of oligoantigenic diet treatment. Lancet 2: 865-869
6. Deng, Y., Misselwitz, B., Dai, N., Fox, M., . Lactose Intolerance in Adults: Biological Mechanism and Dietary Management. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4586575/
Hydrogen Breath Test And Methane Breath Test
The lactose hydrogen breath test is used for the detection of lactose maldigestion, is non-invasive, inexpensive , and can be used for diagnosis from the first years of life . The method is based on the measurement of the amount of hydrogen produced by bacteria residing in the bowel by taking a breath sample. Some of the hydrogen is expelled in flatus, but most of the gas is absorbed in the large intestine into the bloodstream, and then transported to the lungs and breathed out , although some patients bacterial flora produces methane instead of hydrogen. Breath methane excretion represents an alternative marker for intestinal gas breath excretion measurement . CH4 measurements may possibly be of additional value for the diagnosis of lactose intolerance .
The breath test has some disadvantages, including the need for a special dietpatients should avoid beans, wheat, and oat flour, potatoes, and corn but favour rice and meat. Children should also fast overnight for 8 to 12 h, and infants < 6 months old for 4 to 6 h . Moreover, the test itself lasts long and can trigger gastrointestinal symptoms in patients with lactose malabsorption .
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Factors Attributed To Constipation
Amongst the lactose-rich foods are dairy, which when taken by lactose intolerance individuals may present issues like constipation. But, if you dont have this condition, can dairy make you constipated?
Dairy is high in fat and tough proteins like casein, which can slacken digestion. These elements, in combination with other factors like a lack of fiber, can contribute to constipation.
Also, too much dairy can cause bloating and gas, affecting bowel movements.
That said, lactose, if at all, is a minor contributor to constipation. So, what is likely to give you constipation?
Constipation can arise from illnesses, medications, and personal lifestyles, among other risk factors.
Signs And Symptoms Of Lactose Intolerance
Lactose is a type of sugar found naturally in the milk of most mammals.
Lactose intolerance is a condition characterized by symptoms such as stomach pain, bloating, gas and diarrhea, which are caused by lactose malabsorption.
In humans, an enzyme known as lactase is responsible for breaking down lactose for digestion. This is particularly important in infants, who need lactase to digest breast milk.
However, as children grow older, they generally produce less and less lactase.
Some people may also develop lactose intolerance after surgery or due to gastrointestinal diseases such as viral or bacterial infections.
Here are the 5 most common signs and symptoms of lactose intolerance.
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Possible Contradictions In Treatment
In view of pharmacological treatment, PEG is the first-choice osmotic laxative in children with functional constipation. If macrogols cannot be administered, lactulose is a drug of choice and is registered for use in younger children . This fact is especially interesting considering the subject of this review. Lactulose, as a derivative of lactose, can possibly trigger symptoms of lactose malabsorption, similar to constipation.
There is another shared element in the treatment of lactose intolerance and constipation, namely: probiotics. Oak and Jhas systematic review showed varying degrees of efficacy but an overall positive relationship between probiotics contained in fermented and unfermented milk products and lactose intolerance . A systematic review by Leis et al. confirmed the overall positive relationship between probiotics and lactose intolerance, but they also noted that further clinical trials were needed in order to gather more evidence . With respect to constipation, probiotics have been suggested as a potential treatment for this condition, yet recent research suggests they are ineffective for the disease management and successful treatment of functional constipation in children . Despite profound research on the role of probiotics on gut motility and constipation, the majority is derived from animal studies, thus further studies on humans are needed to determine the effectiveness of probiotics on constipation .
Constipation As A Symptom Of Cows Milk Protein Allergy
Chronic constipation in infants has been shown to be related to the ingestion of cows milk and a symptom of CMPA.7,8 In some cases, the frequency of CMPA can be as high as 80% in constipated infants.7
The majority of infants affected with CMPA have at least two symptoms affecting at least two different organ systems.9,10 If, in addition to constipation, your patient shows any of the signs and symptoms that can be related to CMPA11 , you can use the CoMiSS® tool12 to score the combination of their symptoms and assess the likelihood of CMPA.
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Constipation In Babies: Information For Parents & Caregivers
Constipation is the passing of a hard poo with pain or discomfort and your child does not go to the toilet regularly.
What causes constipation in babies?
Constipation in babies is quite rare, affecting around 15% babies in the first year of life, and should be checked by a doctor.
The causes of constipation in babies includes:
- Formula that is made up incorrectly .
- Changing to a different formula.
- Not enough fluids over a day bottle-fed infants will require more water between formula feeds.
- The introduction of new foods to the diet.
- Delaying toileting sometimes the baby seems to delay going to the toilet because they are expecting pain, and this can make the problem worse.
What are the signs of constipation in babies?
Many parents think that their baby is experiencing constipation when the frequency of pooing changes. Your babys poos should be a smooth, soft sausage like consistency. Some babies can go once a feed, others once every few days some may only go once a week.
Breastfed babies are rarely constipated because break milk is easier to digest than formula. Furthermore, a large amount of time between bowel movements is not necessarily an indication of constipation.
The most important sign of constipation in babies is that their poo is separate hard lumps and hard to pass or sausage-shaped but lumpy.
Other symptoms of constipation can include:
What to do if your baby has constipation
Additional suggestions may help, including:
When should I see a doctor?
Can Lactose Intolerance Cause Constipation
Lactose intolerance is a condition that occurs when the body cannot digest lactose. In some people, this condition may cause constipation, among other symptoms.
Constipation is a condition in which bowel movements are infrequent or hard to pass. It can also be a symptom of other medical conditions, including lactose intolerance.
Lactose is a sugar in milk and dairy products that the lactase enzyme breaks down.
Lactose intolerance is a digestive disorder that affects about of the worlds population. It is due to a shortage of lactase, which is responsible for breaking down the sugar in milk.
Lactase breaks down lactose into glucose and galactose, which the cells in the small intestine then absorb.
A person with this condition cannot digest milk and other dairy products because their gut lacks this enzyme.
This article will explore whether lactose intolerance can cause constipation, lactose intolerance symptoms, how to manage and treat lactose intolerance, other causes of constipation, and how to treat constipation.
Lactase breaks down lactose into two simple sugars glucose and galactose. The body can easily absorb glucose, not galactose, since it has to go through another process first gluconeogenesis. Galactose ends up in the large intestine, where it ferments, which can cause gas and bloating.
In some people, lactose intolerance can also cause constipation. However, this is a rarer symptom than diarrhea. Some people
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