Categorized | Lactose in the News

5 Can’t-Miss Signs that Your Child is definitely Lactose Intolerant – Health Necessities from Cleveland Clinic (blog)

Contributor: Kadakkal Radhakrishnan, MD

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In order to pinpoint if your child is lactose intolerant, it’s important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of this digestive problem.

Children who are lactose-intolerant don’t generate enough lactase – a natural chemical that digests, or breaks down, lactose. Parents often confuse lactose intolerance with milk allergy, and although the two have similar symptoms, they are very different conditions.

Lactose is really a sugar found in foods that many kids love — milk and dairy products, such as ice cream and soft cheeses. The list of other foods containing lactose is long and consists of baked goods and some breads, your favorite ice cream, some candies, salad dressings, particular breakfast cereals, pancake mixes and more. Lactose also is in breast dairy and instant formulas.


The mechanics of lactose intolerance

Lactose is really a disaccharide, meaning it’s a sugars made of two simple sugar substances – glucose and galactose.

For this sugar to be absorbed, the sugar has to be split into its components by an enzyme called lactase. This particular enzyme is found in the lining of the small intestine.

For those who are lactose intolerant, the activity of the enzyme lactase is ineffective — which means it is unable to digest and absorb the particular sugar found in milk and milk products. Because this sugar cannot be digested properly, it gets fermented by the regular gut bacterial flora in the large intestine. The fermentation process after that leads to symptoms — or warning signs — that can indicate your child is lactose intolerant.


Strong symptoms

The improper digestion leads to fermentation of the sugar in the large intestine by the gut flora. This produces carbon dioxide plus hydrogen, as well as certain products that have a laxative effect.

Here are five symptoms you should look out for:

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  • Loose stools and gas, especially with consumption of foods containing large amount of dairy products, which contain lactose
  • Watery diarrhea with gas
  • Stomach bloating, flatulence, nausea
  • Skin rash and frequent colds
  • Generalized abdominal pain and cramping

Symptoms of lactose intolerance assimialte with the amount of lactose that’s consumed. The more lactose your child consumes, the greater symptoms he or she will experience.

Symptoms can start in late childhood into adolescence and can become more obvious into adulthood. Other than the symptoms and pain associated with this diagnosis, lactose intolerance is really a non-threatening disorder with no long-term complications — just an altered diet life-style.


Developing lactose intolerance

Listed here are three ways that lactose intolerance can develop:

Acquired lactose intolerance — This decline in the lactase exercise in the small intestine lining happens as part of normal aging. About half from the U. S. adult population could be lactose intolerant with varying level of severity. Beyond childhood, the amount of lactose in the diet of an average U. S i9000. adult is less than 10 percent associated with total carbohydrate intake. However , individuals with symptomatic lactose intolerance may not be able to tolerate even the smallest amount of lactose. It is very unusual to see this just before age 5.

Primary lactase insufficiency This is an unusually rare diagnosis, and these babies have complete absence of the lactase enzyme from birth. Children with primary lactase deficiency develop severe diarrhea while on breast dairy, forcing them to require special formulations. This is a recessive trait, and the baby has to acquire one abnormal gene from each parent to have the symptoms.

Secondary lactic intolerance This is a temporary intolerance and observed after irritation of the digestive system – sometimes known as “acute gastroenteritis. ” This occurs due to temporary damage to the intestinal lining following irritation. Patients often have preceding nausea, vomiting and diarrhea but continue to have diarrhea when consuming lactose-containing foods. Rotavirus and giardiasis are two infections associated with temporary lactose intolerance. Along with rotavirus vaccination, this is becoming less of a problem; however , other virus-like and bacterial gastroenteritis can be associated with lactose intolerance.

Celiac condition, a digestive disorder that causes harm to the small intestine when gluten is ingested, can be associated with temporary lactic intolerance. Those with celiac disease can endure lactose-containing foods once the intestinal lining heals after going on a strict gluten-free diet. Crohn’s disease, an inflammatory disorder of the bowel, also can be associated with lactose intolerance, and this often enhances once adequate treatment is instituted.


Diagnosis plus treatment options

It’s quite easy to test for lactose intolerance, and it’s done using the lactose breath test, which tests regarding hydrogen levels in the breath right after consuming lactose.

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Normally, small hydrogen is detected in breathing, but raised hydrogen breath ranges indicate the improper digestion of lactose — which could indicate lactic intolerance. In young children and those who are unable to perform the breath test, strict elimination of lactose-containing food for 2 to four weeks is another option.

Although there is no cure for this digestive problem, nutritional modifications can make a huge difference for your kid.

I also recommend kids with lactose intolerance take an over-the-counter lactase enzyme supplement when lactose-containing food is consumed to help alleviate signs and symptoms.

Over time, you and your child will learn how much dairy-based food and drink he or she can handle. For patients with significant symptoms, the help of a dietitian is helpful to identify foods containing lactose.

It is also important to ensure that sufficient intake of calcium and calciferol is maintained, since dairy is generally a good source for these nutrition.

This post is based on one of the series of articles produced by U. S. News & Entire world Report in association with the medical experts at Cleveland Clinic.

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