5 questions about lactose intolerance in children

Lactose intolerance is a digestive dilemma that occurs when lactose is not digested, a specific kind of sugar present in milk and dairy products.

The most obvious symptoms of this intolerance include gas and diarrhea, flatulence, and pain or cramps in the stomach. Symptoms normally develop within a few hours of having consumed the food with lactose. But, parents, faced with the diagnosis of this intolerance, raise doubts about it.

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5 answers to questions about lactose intolerance in children

1.- Why is my child lactose intolerant?

Answer: The digestion of lactose needs an enzyme, lactase. This enzyme breaks lactose, a disaccharide, into two simple sugars, galactose, and glucose, so that they can be utilized by cells. People with lactose intolerance do not produce sufficient lactase, so lactose grows in the gastrointestinal tract and is utilized as a substrate for the growth of bacteria existing in it, and especially in the colon. These bacteria turn the lactose producing the gases that produce the flatulence characteristic of lactose intolerance.

2.- Will my child be lactose intolerant for life?

Answer: It doesn’t have to. Depending on the speculations behind inadequate lactase production this intolerance can be temporary or persistent. In general, lactose intolerances that develop in adults are normally inherited and have a genetic reason, that is, there is a failure in the genes associated with lactase, so they are normally permanent.

But, those that appear in babies and children have more to do with the reality that their digestive system is not completely developed and may have a more volatile nature, usually disappearing around 2 years… Certainly, not all cases are like this, but it is the most common. On the other hand, lactose intolerance also has an element linked with ethnicity, being more common in people of Asian / Oriental origin.

lactose intolerance in children
lactose intolerance in children

3.- Is lactose intolerance an allergy?

Answer: No, food allergies are the outcome of a weak immune response to an allergen, in this case, a food, even in tiny quantities, and its signs change but often include itching and rashes. A person can be lactose intolerant and consume tiny amounts of dairy without showing symptoms.

4.- Is lactose intolerance treated?

Answer: Lactose intolerance has no restorative, but restricting the intake of foods containing lactose normally controls symptoms until they are undetectable. These dietary changes will be more or less harsh depending on the degree of lactose intolerance. A total intolerance lacks the total exclusion of lactose from the diet, while in other cases the person may be able to tolerate small amounts of this disaccharide.

5.- What foods contain lactose?

Answer: In addition to milk and its derivatives, lactose may be present in greater or lesser amounts in pastries, cookies, sliced ​​bread and chocolates, breakfast cereals, cakes, mayonnaise, and other prepared soups, sauces, and purees, and quite often, in meat derivatives such as sausages, ham, and sausages. [1]

What foods contain lactose?

The Bottom Line:

Depending on the specific progression of the child, the doctor may intimate, at a certain age, to moderately introduce lactose into his diet, so that it can be checked whether the intolerance has been overcome or not. If not, they would return to the lactose-free diet to advance again with its introduction after a while.

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