What is lactose intolerance?
The inability to digest the sugar that is present in the milk and its derivatives is the main cause of lactose intolerance. A person feels uncomfortable during digestion as lactose ferments in the intestine due to a lack of lactase enzyme.
The sugar in milk called lactose, which is digested by lactase. The latter breaks down sugar from food into glucose and galactose to facilitate absorption by the intestine. Lactose is not digested but it is fermented in the colon if there is a small amount of lactase. In this case, it causes pain, diarrhea, and gas.
It is important to note that babies cannot suffer from lactose intolerance. The effectiveness of lactase decreases after stopping breastfeeding, but this varies from person to another. Lactase levels may decrease with age, but lactase activity in many adults may be equal to lactase activity in infants.
What are the main symptoms?
Symptoms depend on a number of factors, such as the amount of lactose absorbed and lactase activity, and they usually appear one or two hours and a half after eating lactose-containing foods.
The main symptoms are:
- A feeling of bloating in the abdomen.
- An excess of gas.
- Feeling very tired.
- Joint and muscle pain.
- Stomach cramps.
The respiratory system or skin is not affected by lactose intolerance, which does not cause any kind of complications.
What are the reasons that lead to this disease?
Lactose intolerance can be caused by primary lactose, which is induced by a genetic mutation. In addition, some diseases of the digestive system or cancer may lead to an inability to produce lactase.
Lactose intolerance may be the result of a physiological process that occurs in about 58% of adults due to the gradual decrease in lactase activity with age.
How is the diagnosis made?
It is important to consult one of the best gastroenterologists to look for any other disease such as benign liver tumors, hepatic cyst , or irritable bowel syndrome. A biological test that detects the concentration of hydrogen in the air after consuming a liquid containing 30 grams of lactose is extremely important.
After 4 hours of testing, if there is a high concentration of hydrogen, this indicates that the body does not absorb lactose.
How is this disease treated in Turkey and Istanbul?
It should be noted that there are no surgeries or medications that can eliminate lactose intolerance because the main purpose of treatment is to reduce the side effects of this disease. Sometimes eating foods that contain a limited amount of lactose may be the appropriate solution for a number of people who have become lactose intolerant. However, some people can drink milk without any problems. It is necessary to maintain a calcium-rich diet in order to provide the necessary nutrients to the body.
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