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Lactose Intolerance Symptoms

Is lactose intolerance something that you are suffering from?

When a person is lactose intolerant it means that he or she has an inability to properly digest milk sugar, and this is a problem that is far more common than is generally known. The fact is that many people are completely unaware that they have an intolerance to lactose.

At least 5% of the UK population and between 30 and 50 million Americans are believed to be suffering from lactose intolerance by the age of 20. There is about a 6% prevalence rate in Australia and 9% in New Zealand. Though most people adversely affected by lactose are of Asian, African, Mediterranean or Native American ancestry, it can affect anyone of any racial background. But it is less common among Western and Northern Europeans and those whose cultural traditions include milk and milk products as an integral part of their diet.

Lactose intolerance is brought about because the person does not produce sufficient quantities of an enzyme called lactase, which is produced in the small intestine and is necessary in order for the body to process and absorb the lactose from milk.

Symptoms usually occur within a couple of hours of consuming milk or milk products and include bloating and abdominal cramps, diarrhoea, flatulence and nausea. An intolerance to lactose can be confused with IBS or irritable bowel syndrome, since both these conditions effect the gut and digestive system.

Lactose is found not only in milk and obvious milk products such as cream cheese and ice cream, but it is also often added to biscuits, cookies, chocolate and certain breakfast cereals. For those who are lactose intolerant eating these foods can produce the same symptoms as drinking a glass of milk. Strangely, yoghurt does not appear to have the same affect in some lactose intolerant people.

Unfortunately, there is no proven way to increase the production of the enzyme lactase in the body and the very best way to avoid the unpleasant consequences of lactose is simply by avoiding milk and those products that contain it. Soya milk and rice milk are viable alternatives, and special lactose-free milk is now available in some areas. Though not scientifically proven, some suggest that a gradual reintroduction of lactose into a lactose free diet can successfully treat the symptoms of lactose intolerance.

If milk is excluded from the diet then it is important that calcium be sourced from elsewhere. Excellent sources of calcium are dark green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, pok choy, kale, collard greens, mustard greens, and okra. There is more calcium in less than a cup of collard greens, for example, then there is a full cup of cow's milk. Tofu and orange juice fortified with calcium is also readily available in many stores and supermarkets. Provided a varied diet is consumed then it is easy to obtain more than enough calcium. Supplements containing 1000mg of calcium may also be taken if the diet appears to be deficient.

Preparations are available that contain the enzyme lactase in tablet or capsule form. Before having any food containing lactose, these may be taken to lessen the problem.

Once the person is aware of the role that lactose intolerance is playing then they are free to choose to deal with it.

Your doctor can run some tests to determine if you might have a lactose intolerance. Once properly diagnosed and the right action taken, then you can live your life free of the discomfort of lactose intolerance.

DISCLAIMER: Information contained in this article is not intended to replace medical advice. Be sure to consult with your doctor, medical advisor or nutritionist if you think you may be experiencing lactose intolerance.

About Author Peter James Field :

Peter Field is a leading British hypno-psychotherapist and originator of the new 3 step&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">hypnosis slimming</a>&nbsp;weight loss system. His <a href="" target="_blank">anxiety hypnosis download</a>&nbsp;and other hypnosis recordings are also now available.

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Article Added on Tuesday, October 25, 2011
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