Lactose intolerance is a very common digestive disorder that makes it difficult for people to digest a complex sugar called lactose that is present in dairy products made from cow’s milk. This disorder affects people who lack a special enzyme called lactase that allows the digestive system to break down lactose in the small intestine into simpler sugars for absorption into the bloodstream.
This difficulty breaking lactose down into simpler sugars causes people who suffer from lactose intolerance many embarrassing symptoms. These symptoms include a prolonged feeling of fullness in the stomach, bloating, an upset stomach and excessive gas that makes sitting in place very uncomfortable. These symptoms often appear immediately after eating foods that contain cow’s milk and they can lead to more serious symptoms if they are not treated promptly.
These more severe symptoms are also common for people who suffer from more extreme forms of lactose intolerance. These symptoms often include problems with diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. These symptoms often vary in severity from person to person and they can be triggered by eating sweets, breads and other foods that use cow’s milk as an ingredient.
People who believe that they suffer from lactose intolerance should ask their doctors to perform a test for the disorder. These tests use breath or stool samples to look for higher than normal hydrogen levels in the blood. While it may be embarrassing to do this, it can be a good idea because there are several treatments available to reduce the severity of the symptoms. Avoiding dairy entirely, however, is by far, the best treatment for lactose intolerance.
Many of the symptoms of lactose intolerance are often easily mistaken for other maladies. For example, some people who have an upset stomach and excessive gas could believe they are suffering from irritable bowel syndrome instead of lactose intolerance. As a result, people who think that they could be suffering from lactose intolerance should speak to their doctor today to get tested for this disorder.