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Lactose Intolerance

What is Lactose intolerance?

Lactose intolerance is the inability for the body to digest the sugar lactose. This is usually because there is insufficient levels of the enzyme lactase to digest the sugar when eaten. Lactose is the main sugar found in milk and dairy products. This inability to produce lactase can be inherited but can also occur due to illness. As children get older the amount of lactase produced by the body reduces making the intake of milk a bigger problem. Certain communities who do not use milk as part of their adult diet will have very little lactase in their bodies and any large intake of milk will cause problems. African and Asian communities often suffer from lactose intolerance because of their milk free diet.

The inability to digest lactose can cause a number of symptoms that are listed below. Lactose intolerance is not life threatening as with a milk allergy but can cause problems when associated with other illnesses such as Crohn's Disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Colitis.


How do you know if someone in your family is lactose intolerant or allergic to milk? The symptoms of a milk protein allergy fall into 3 types of reactions. Lactose intolerance will show mainly as the stomach and intestinal reactions and possibly the allergic shiners, but this is not exclusive.

Skin Reactions:

Stomach and Intestinal Reactions:

Nose, Throat and Lung Reactions:

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