How to know if you are lactose intolerant

About 70% of the world’s population has a problem or intolerance to lactose, but what is it and how do you know?

Lactose is a natural disaccharide called “milk sugar”, which is broken down into two simple sugars (glucose and galactose) by lactase, an enzyme produced by the small intestine. This process is necessary so that it can be absorbed; therefore, if the intestine is damaged, it can produce less lactase, making it difficult to digest lactose. Then it passes to the large intestine without breaking down and begins to ferment, generating gas, acidity and other discomforts. This is what is called “lactose intolerance”.

The small intestine can have this weakness due to causes such as: infections, injuries, celiac disease, among others.

In general, most people with lactose intolerance begin to perceive it when, after consuming dairy products or derivatives, they feel pain or digestive discomfort.

What are the most frequent symptoms?

  • Heavy digestion (heaviness, bloating)
  • Cramps or spasms
  • Abdominal pain
  • gases
  • constipation or diarrhea
  • skin problems
  • Nausea
  • It can also cause tiredness, nervousness, sleep disorders and skin problems, among other symptoms.

With what foods can you feel them?

  • Milk and dairy products such as cheeses, yogurts or desserts
  • Puree or soups containing milk or cream
  • Pastry products and traditional confectionery
  • Butter or margarine
  • Smoothies or shakes
  • Ice creams
  • Some boxed cereals

To diagnose it, in general, a study is carried out based on the measurement of the glycemic response to food intake. Or it can also be tested through breath or stool analysis.

Intolerance may vary with time and general health status. It is usually in adulthood when symptoms appear.

Depending on the level of intolerance, you can drink lactose-free milk, try vegetable milks, or not very fermented cheeses.

Don’t worry about calcium, you can find it even in 9 times more quantity in vegetable milks; or also in other foods such as: broccoli, spinach, chard, orange, lentils, tofu, beans, almonds, among others.

Whenever you doubt that you are lactose intolerant, notice the changes in your body and go to the doctor for a proper consultation.

Important: It should be clarified that The Bioguide does not give medical advice or prescribe the use of techniques as a form of treatment for physical or mental problems without the advice of a doctor, either directly or indirectly. In the case of applying any information on this site for this purpose, La BioguĂ­a does not assume responsibility for these acts. The site is intended only to provide information of a general nature to aid in the pursuit of personal growth and development.