WHAT IS IT?
Lactose intolerance means you aren’t able to fully digest the milk sugar (lactose) in dairy products. A deficiency of lactase — an enzyme produced by the lining of your small intestine — is usually responsible for lactose intolerance.
Signs and symptoms usually begin 30 minutes to two hours after eating or drinking foods that contain lactose. They include:
- Nausea, and sometimes, vomiting
- Abdominal cramps
- Bloating and gas
Most people find relief by altering their diets and using special products made for people with this condition.
- Eat smaller servings. Try not to eat more than 4 ounces of dairy at a time. The smaller the serving, the less likely it is to cause problems.
- Save milk for mealtimes. Drinking milk with other foods slows the digestive process and may lessen symptoms.
- Experiment. Hard cheeses have small amounts of lactose and generally cause no symptoms. You may be able to eat cultured milk products, such as yogurt because the bacteria used in the culturing process produce an enzyme that breaks down lactose.
- Buy lactose-reduced or lactose-free products. You can find them at most supermarkets in the refrigerated dairy section.
- Use tablets or drops. Products containing the lactase enzyme (Dairy Ease, Lactaid, others) may help you digest lactose.
Excerpt From: The Mayo Clinic. “Mayo Clinic A to Z Health Guide”.