Lactose intolerance is a common digestive problem, in which the body is incapable of fully digesting lactose, a type of sugar found in milk and dairy products. Lactose intolerance is often confused with Cow’s Milk allergy as the 2 conditions share similar signs and symptoms. It is important to note they are separate conditions.
Lactose intolerance develops when the small intestine does not produce enough enzymes to break down lactose. It is usually runs in families, with symptoms emerging during adolescence or adulthood.
Some premature babies may have lactose intolerance, but the conditions generally resolves as the digestive system starts to produce enzymes.
In other cases, the lactose intolerance may be congenital in newborns. Under such circumstances, your child will not be able to intake any food or drink with lactose content.
The severity of the intolerance may vary depending on the quantity of lactose consumed, which typically surfaces 30 minutes to 2 hours after the consumption of dairy products. Symptoms may include:
Lactose intolerance can be controlled by simply altering your child’s diet intake to limit or exclude foods containing lactose. Be sure to check your food labels for ingredients that contain lactose.
Foods which contain lactose content include:
Parents of lactose intolerant children may be concerned their child is not getting enough calcium, a nutrient found in milk products. Calcium is essential to building strong and healthy bones. Try alternative lactose-free milk such as almond, soy or rice milk, or look for non-dairy foods rich in calcium, such as broccoli, salmon, sardines or calcium fortified products to ensure your child receives a healthy calcium intake.
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