What are the common signs and symptoms of lactose intolerance?


Lactose intolerance, or 'alactasia', can have hereditary causes, but it can also have medical causes. Certain treatments can lead to temporary or permanent lactose intolerance, regardless of the age of the individual concerned. Because everyone can be affected by lactose intolerance at some stage in their lives, from childhood to adulthood, it is important to know how to identify the signs and symptoms of this digestive pathology.


What is lactose intolerance?


Intolerance is defined as the inability of the body in general or of a particular organ in particular to tolerate an external agent, whether a medicine or a food.


In lactose intolerance, the digestion of lactose is made difficult or impossible by insufficient production of lactase in the body. Lactose is the carbohydrate or sugar in milk. Its digestion depends on its dissociation into two simple sugars, glucose and galactose, which is normally carried out by lactase. This enzyme is produced in the small intestine and determines the assimilation of lactose by the digestive tract.


A few keys to detecting lactose intolerance


There are many common signs and symptoms of lactose intolerance, which manifest themselves in varying proportions depending on the individual and the amount of lactose ingested. Most of them are common to other intolerances and allergies. The main symptoms are borborygma, abdominal pain, bloating, flatulence and diarrhoea. In some cases, lactose intolerance also takes the form of nausea, vomiting, constipation and migraines.


If you experience one or more of the above symptoms and have consumed one or more dairy products within 15 minutes to 4 hours, or even within the last 24 hours, then you may be lactose intolerant.


Lactose intolerance can be a daily burden, as it requires constant monitoring of the diet. Nevertheless, it affects around 75% of the world's population and, despite the absence of a cure, can be compensated for with lactase-based food supplements.


What should you do if you suspect lactose intolerance?


If you think you may be lactose intolerant, you can now carry out an at-home lactose elimination test. This screening test consists of banishing all dairy products and other foods from your diet. foods containing lactose for 3 days. Keep an eye on your symptoms after this period: are they still present and to what extent? If they have disappeared, return to eating lactose. If your digestive problems reappear, consult your GP for an official diagnosis in the form of a breath test, tolerance test or genetic test.


Consult the list of healthcare professionals aware of lactose intolerance on our website. If your lactose intolerance is confirmed by one of the medical tests carried out in hospital or in a laboratory, you can consider oral lactase supplementation to help you live with your intolerance more serenely on a daily basis.

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