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What is lactose intolerance?

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By : Nurturing Life's Nutrition Team | Montreal Diet Dispensary

Lactose intolerance is the inability to properly digest lactose, a sugar found in milk. This intolerance may cause gastrointestinal discomfort.

Lactose intolerance is due to incomplete digestion of the sugar present in milk, lactose. It occurs when the body does not produce or no longer produces enough lactase, the enzyme responsible for digesting lactose. The following gastrointestinal events then appear: bloating and flatulence, abdominal pain and cramps, diarrhea or constipation.

The infant in whom a diagnosis has been made can still drink breast milk. To do this, the mother should express her milk, treat it with liquid lactase (OTC pharmacy) and refrigerate it for 24 hours, the time needed to break down lactose. This milk can then be offered to the baby by cup.

If it proves impossible to treat breast milk, infant formula based on cow’s milk without lactose can be used until the symptoms disappear. In this case, a gradual intake of breast milk containing lactose (or a commercial preparation for regular infant) can begin. On the other hand, it is interesting to note that it is possible to restore a lactose tolerance by gradually increasing the lactose content of the diet.

It is also noteworthy that a specialist such as a pediatrician should diagnose lactose intolerance. In infants, this intolerance occurs most often after a gastrointestinal infection and resolves itself after a temporary withdrawal of lactose. Generally, this condition is temporary in children and it subsides with time.