What are the signs you observe when your child is lactose intolerant?
Lactose intolerance refers to the body’s inability to digest lactose which is a sugar found in milk. Their body fails to produce the required amount of lactase which is an enzyme that breaks down lactose. Small intestine fails to break down all the lactose and this passes on to the large intestine as it leads to gases and acids. This means the moment your kid consumes milk or milk products, his or her body will display negative reactions. This includes bloating, gases, abnormal pain, and diarrhea.
Lactose is present in most milk-based products that kids consume such as ice creams, salad dressings, and pancake mixes. Kids usually devour such food, especially frozen desserts. Sometimes parent mixes up lactose intolerance with milk allergies. There are five types of lactose intolerance: primary, congenital, developmental and secondary.
Both primary and congenital lactose intolerance are being inherited. Babies produce the normal amount of lactase needed but when they switch to other foods, the production decreases. As your baby grows up, the symptoms become more evident.
Secondary lactose intolerance occurs due to a problem in the small intestine at any age. Developmental lactose intolerance is usually linked to babies. Sometimes lactose intolerance occurs due to another condition like Crohn’s disease. It may even be a result of an injury or an illness. Only a professional can tell you the root cause and the type of lactose intolerance your kid has.
Symptoms may start showing thirty minutes after your kid consumes a lactose product. However, some kids are not affected by it up to two hours.
1. Loose stool or diarrhoea : Frequent bathroom visits and diarrhoea are common to people with lactose intolerance. Increase in water in the colon affects the amount of liquid in stools. It is important to note that diarrhoea can result from other causes as well.
So, it is too soon to declare that your kid is lactose intolerant if this is the only symptom they experience.
2. Constipation or problem urinating : As compared to the other symptoms of lactose intolerance, this one is rare.
3. Stomach ache : Your child may complain that his stomach is hurting. He may experience nauseous feelings. This happens because the bacteria living in the colon ferment the lactose which releases acids, hydrogen and carbon dioxide. This leads to a stomach ache.
4. Bloating : When the amount of water and gas increases, the gut wall stretches causing your belly to swell. Your kid’s stomach appears bloated. This may lead to nausea or vomiting. Your kid might start throwing up.
5. Abdominal cramps, muscle and joint pains
Try to cut down or eliminate your child’s milk intake and see if he still experiences the above symptoms. If they vanish, then it is likely that your child is lactose intolerant. The symptoms your child displays depends on the amount of lactose he consumed.
So, if you give your child three scoops of ice cream instead of one, the symptoms will be more severe. Sometimes these symptoms won’t become very obvious until adulthood. If you think your child is lactose intolerant, then visit the doctor who will give the necessary information needed to proceed. He can also determine how severe your kid’s case is.
Just because your kid is lactose intolerant does not mean that he needs to avoid all dairy products. You can give your kid milk-free products such as cheese and yoghurts. Dairy is not the only source of calcium.
Other foods such as some leafy vegetables and sardine are rich in calcium. You can make a little diet plan for your child to manage his calcium intake. Set up a meeting with a paediatrician to confirm your kid’s required calcium intake before.
Sometimes doctors do encourage parents to give their children the minimum amount of dairy, so they get enough calcium. This may be combined with foods which don’t contain lactose. The tolerance for lactose differs from person to person.
Lactose intolerance does not have any major implications as long as you can manage the calcium intake. Unfortunately, there is no cure for lactose intolerance. The best way to treat the symptoms is to lower your kid’s lactose intake. Depending on the severity, the moment you fall back on milk, the symptoms will reappear. Lactose Intolerance can be tackled smoothly after a few alterations to your child’s diet. Try to find alternative snacks for your kid to please him.
• Lactose Intolerance occurs when the body produces insufficient amounts of lactase, an enzyme needed to break down lactose which is a sugar present in milk.
• When your child consumes milk-based products, he experiences symptoms such as bloating, abdominal cramps, loose stools, vomiting, stomach ache and nausea. The severity differs from person to person.
• Sometimes people may confuse lactose intolerance for milk allergies. Only a professional can tell you the root cause and the type of lactose intolerance your kid has.
• Lactose Intolerance does not have a cure. To tackle this medical condition, changes need to be made in the diet. You can introduce your kid an alternate snack which are healthy. After gaining your doctor’s approval, you can combine small amounts of milk with lactose-free products.