Can You Become Lactose Intolerant?

As you age, your lactase levels can begin to decline, which means nothing is stopping the lactose you consume from going to your colon undigested, where germs break the sugars down and develop excess gas and fluid while doing so.

As you age, your lactase levels can begin to decline, which means nothing is stopping the lactose you consume from going to your colon undigested, where germs break the sugars down and develop excess gas and fluid while doing so.

Lactose intolerance is the failure to completely absorb lactose– a sugar found in milk – which results in gastrointestinal concerns about thirty minutes to two hours after taking in dairy items.

Importantly, lactose intolerance is not the very same thing as a milk allergy, which happens when your immune system overreacts to the proteins in milk.

If you have a milk allergic reaction, you will likely instantly experience common allergic reaction symptoms after consuming milk, including hives, wheezing, and throwing up.

Becoming Lactose Intolerant – Is It Possible?

Theoretically, you can end up being lactose intolerant at any point. While it is true that most people show their intolerance to lactose early in life, individuals can get it in their teenage years, or even in the adult years.

A shortage triggers lactose intolerance in the enzyme lactase in the inner lining of the GI wall. Considering that the GI tract can not soak up lactose whole (it must be broken down), it remains in the gut. This triggers water to move into the stomach which leads to diarrhea and abdominal pain. Most people with lactose intolerance only have their symptoms when they consume lactose-containing foods. It would help if you tracked what you eat every day so you can identify everything that triggers your upset stomach. This way you can inform if there are other products besides dairy that trigger your symptoms. If you are not having diarrhea after consuming milk, your lactose intolerance is most likely not very serious.

This is the type of problem that can be raised with your medical care physician. Bring with you a log of whatever you have consumed that has resulted in your stomach pain. Your doctor will likely have additional questions that refer to your symptoms such as cramping and diarrhea.

Lactose Intolerance Causes

When you consume food or beverage containing lactose, an enzyme in the small intestinal tract called lactase helps you digest the milk sugar using hydrolysis, or the chemical splitting of molecules with water.

In impact, lactase catalyzes the hydrolysis of lactose, producing two simpler sugars: glucose and galactose, which are then absorbed into the bloodstream.

Many individuals have a lactase shortage, or hypolactasia, in which their little intestinal tract produces low levels of lactase.

This deficiency may result in lactose malabsorption, where the undigested lactose makes its method into the large intestine and colon.

Bacteria in the colon break down the lactose, leading to increased gas and fluid in the colon.

You are lactose intolerant if your lactase shortage or lactose malabsorption causes digestive symptoms (though this doesn’t always occur).

The quantity of lactose required to trigger symptoms varies in between individuals, and many people can take in percentages of lactose without issues, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

Lactose Intolerance Types

There are numerous kinds of lactase shortages that result in lactose intolerance.

The most common type of lactase deficiency is the main lactase shortage or lactase nonpersistence, and it takes place when lactase production slowly declines as you age, generally beginning after you turn two years of ages.

Lactase nonpersistence establishes when the activity, or expression, of the LCT gene, reduces with time (a regulatory DNA series manage its appearance in MCM6, a close-by gene).

You can digest lactose into the adult years if you have an anomaly of the MCM6 gene that, in a sense, keeps the LCT gene completely switched on.

Genetic lactase shortage is an incredibly uncommon inherited disorder, in which the little intestinal tract produces little to no lactase from birth.

It’s triggered by a mutation of the LCT gene, which provides directions for making lactase.

You can only be born with this condition if both of your parents pass the mutated gene on to you.

Lactose intolerance isn’t always related to genes, nevertheless.

Secondary or acquired lactase shortage develops when an infection or disease– consisting of celiac disease, infectious enteritis, or Crohn’s disease (an inflammatory bowel disease, or IBD)– damage the small intestinal tract.

Treating the underlying concern usually reverses the lactose intolerance.

Lactose Intolerance Symptoms

The signs of lactose intolerance usually take place within 2 hours after consuming milk-based products.
If you are lactose intolerant, you will experience several of the following symptoms 30 minutes to 2 hours after consuming a milk-containing or milk-based item:

  • Abdominal bloating, pain, or cramps
  • Borborygmi (rumbling or gurgling noises in the stomach).
  • Diarrhea.
  • Flatulence, or gas.
  • Queasiness, which might be accompanied by vomiting.

If you experience other symptoms, particularly hives and wheezing, immediately after taking in milk, you probably have a milk allergy– that is, you dislike the proteins in milk, and may not be lactose intolerant.

Dairy items are an important part of a well-balanced diet, offering the body with calcium, protein, and numerous vitamins, including A, B12, and D.

If you swear off dairy, however, don’t supplement your diet with foods including these essential minerals and vitamins, you might experience complications, including a low bone-mineral density condition called osteopenia, which can result in osteoporosis, a thin-bone condition that increases your dangers of fractures.

Lactose Intolerance Tests

A simple method to see if you may be lactose intolerant is the so-called milk obstacle.

Drink a glass of milk after not taking in any dairy items for numerous days; if you experience the trademark symptoms of lactose intolerance noted above, you likely have the condition.

Your doctor also has a variety of tests to see if you are lactose intolerant, including:

  • Hydrogen breath test.
  • Lactose intolerance blood test.
  • Digestive tract biopsy.
  • Stool acidity test.
  • Genetic test.

The hydrogen breath test is a smooth and generally precise technique to identify lactose intolerance.

Your doctor will ask you to consume a liquid with a recognized quantity of lactose in it, and after that later have you breathe into a device that measures the amount of hydrogen in your breath.

If you’re lactose intolerant, the germs in your intestines will absorb the sugar and release the hydrogen and methane that the device can identify.

Alternatively, your medical professional might perform a type of blood test called the lactose tolerance test.

Two hours after you consume a lactose solution, your doctor will draw and test your blood for glucose, a sugar produced when lactase breaks down lactose.

If your glucose levels didn’t increase or raised a bit, it implies your body isn’t absorbing the lactose.

An intrusive intestinal biopsy is likewise available to identify lactose intolerance.

A gastroenterologist will use a long, thin surgical tool called an endoscope to take a sample of the lining of your small intestine. The sample will then be checked for lactase activity.

A stool acidity test is available for infants and children who can not go through other tests.

This test identifies lactose intolerance by looking for a rise in stool acidity or pH, caused by bacteria fermenting lactose in the colon.

Finally, genetic tests can be utilized to detect lactose intolerance without provoking symptoms. All that’s needed is a blood or saliva sample (taking in lactose isn’t essential).


Last modified: February 16, 2019

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