Lactose intolerance is a digestive disorder that affects people of all ages. It occurs when the body is unable to digest and absorb lactose, which is a type of sugar found in dairy products. Symptoms include stomach pain, bloating, gas, nausea, and diarrhea after consuming dairy products. Lactose intolerance can be caused by genetics or acquired through illness or injury. It can also be triggered by certain medications or diets.
The prevalence of lactose intolerance varies among different populations. In general, it is more common among African Americans, Asians, Native Americans, and some Mediterranean populations than in Caucasians. The condition can range from mild to severe depending on the individual’s sensitivity to lactose and their ability to digest it properly. People with lactose intolerance may experience symptoms after consuming any amount of dairy products while others may be able to tolerate small amounts without experiencing any adverse effects.
There are several ways to manage lactose intolerance including avoiding dairy products entirely or limiting intake of them; using lactase enzyme tablets before consuming dairy; choosing low-lactose foods such as hard cheeses and yogurt; and substituting other types of milk for cows milk such as soy or almond milk. In addition, probiotics may help with digestion of lactose when taken regularly.
It is important for those with lactose intolerance to understand their own individual tolerance levels so they can make informed decisions about what foods to eat and how much they can consume without experiencing unpleasant symptoms. They should also be aware that many processed foods contain hidden sources of lactose such as whey powder or casein so reading food labels carefully is important if avoiding dairy products completely is desired.
Overall, understanding the causes and effects of lactose intolerance is important for anyone who has been diagnosed with this condition so they can make informed decisions about their diet and lifestyle choices that will enable them to live a healthy life despite their dietary restrictions. With careful management and an understanding of the condition, those with this condition can lead active lives just like anyone else without having to worry about the consequences of consuming dairy products too often or in large quantities.