Lactose is a type of sugar found naturally in the milk of most mammals. The lactose intolerance is a condition characterized by symptoms such as pain, bloating, gas and diarrhea, which are caused by malabsorption of lactose.
In humans, an enzyme known as lactase is responsible for breaking down lactose for digestion. This is particularly important in babies who need lactase to digest breast milk. However, as children grow, they generally produce less and less lactase.
In adulthood, up to 70% of people no longer produce enough lactase to properly digest lactose in milk, which causes symptoms when they consume dairy products.
Discover the 4 most common signs of lactose intolerance .Signs that you are lactose intolerant
4 signs of lactose intolerance
Stomach pain and swelling are common symptoms of lactose intolerance in both children and adults.
When the body can not break down lactose, it passes through the intestine until it reaches the colon. Carbohydrates such as lactose cannot be absorbed directly into the colon, but can be fermented and broken down by bacteria living there, known as microflora. This fermentation causes the release of short chain fatty acids, as well as hydrogen, methane and carbon dioxide.
The resulting increase in acids and gases can cause stomach pain and cramps. The pain is usually located around the belly button and in the lower half of the belly. On the other hand, the sensation of swelling is caused by an increase in water and gas in the colon, which causes the bowel wall to stretch, also known as distension.Swelling stomach because of lactose
2.Increase of gases
The fermentation of lactose in the colon increases the production of hydrogen, methane and carbon dioxide gases. In fact, in people with lactose intolerance, the microflora of the colon becomes very good for fermenting lactose in acids and gases. This results in more lactose being fermented in the colon, which further increases the flatulence.
Interestingly, the gases produced from the fermentation of lactose have no smell. In fact, the smell of flatulence comes from the breakdown of proteins in the intestine, not from carbohydrates.
Constipation is characterized by hard and infrequent stools, feeling of incomplete bowel movements, upset stomach, swelling and excessive exertion. In turn, it may be another indication of lactose intolerance.
As bacteria in the colon ferment undigested lactose, they produce methane gas. Methane is thought to slow down the time it takes for food to move through the intestine, which causes constipation in some people.
Constipation is not commonly associated with lactose intolerance, although it has been reported as a symptom. Other causes of constipation include dehydration, lack of fiber in the diet, certain medications, irritable bowel syndrome, diabetes, hypothyroidism, Parkinson’s disease and hemorrhoids
Lactose intolerance causes diarrhea by increasing the volume of water in the colon, which increases the volume and fluid content of stool. It is more common in babies and small children than in adults.
In the colon, the microflora ferments lactose to form short-chain fatty acids and gases. Most of these acids are absorbed again in the colon. The leftover acids and lactose increase the amount of water that the body releases in the colon.
There are many causes of diarrhea apart from lactose intolerance. These include your diet, other types of malabsorption, medications, infections and inflammatory bowel diseases.
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