Monday, June 8, 2009

Lactose Intolerance


If your child suffers from stomach discomfort such as gas or abdominal pain, bloating and diarrhea after drinking milk, he may have a condition known as lactose intolerance.

Lactose Intolerance is the reduced capacity of the body to digest lactose, the main sugar found in dairy products. Normally, lactose is digested by the enzyme lactase that is present on the lining of the small intestine. A deficiency of lactase in the body prevents the complete absorption of lactose. The unabsorbed lactose passes into the large intestine thereby causing diarrhea. The unabsorbed lactose is further broken down by the bacteria of the large intestine, accompanies by the production of gas (hydrogen). This leads to abdominal distention and other uncomfortable symptoms.

Symptoms of Lactose Intolerance:
Stomach pain, diarrhea, bloating, gas or “kabag” in your child are the usual symptoms of lactose intolerance. Since a lot of other diseases present in the same way, it is important to determine the cause so that appropriate treatment can be given. Are the symptoms recurrent? The key is to observe whether stomach discomfort occurs after consuming dairy products. If you suspect lactose intolerance in your child, consult your pediatrician.

Treatment for Lactose Intolerance
The simplest way to prevent the symptoms of lactose intolerance is to avoid food (mainly cow’s milk and its products) that contain lactose. Remove dairy products from your child’s diet. Otherwise, you can add fat to the dairy products to delay the absorption of lactose. The following alternatives may also be helpful:

Lactose-free products – There are milk products that are formulated with the nutrients of milk without lactose content.

Lactose pills and additives – These agents provide an artificial source of lactase for the body. Lactase pills are taken before meals to help your child digest foods that contain lactose, while lactase additives are used to lower the lactose content milk.

Your child does not have to suffer from recurrent stomach discomfort. Ask your doctor about their way to deal with lactose intolerance in your child.

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