Lactose intolerance: what is it?

10th September 2021

Lactose intolerance is a condition in which the body cannot digest the sugar in milk products called lactose, due to the absence of the lactase enzyme needed to digest it. Although not a severe condition, the symptoms can make your child uncomfortable and interfere with their daily activities.

Lactose is found in dairy products such as soft and processed cheeses, milk, yogurt, butter and other products that are derived or prepared with lactose-rich ingredients (such as ice cream, cream, hot chocolate, cakes, etc.). Symptoms of lactose deficiency, which are a consequence of the inability to completely or partially digest lactose, include diarrhoea, nausea and occasionally vomiting, bloating, as well as gas and stomach cramps.

It's easy to find out if your child has lactose intolerance. Watch for symptoms between 30 minutes to 2 hours after eating or drinking foods that contain lactose. Breakfast can be a good opportunity because it usually contains milk and other dairy products. If you suspect your child has lactose intolerance, you should consult your doctor. In addition, a nutritionist can help you change your lactose-intolerant child's diet, so that they can avoid foods rich in lactose and still enjoy a balanced and nutritious diet.

"Healthy Children" [Webpage]*: United States of America (USA): American Academy of Paediatrics; 2016 [2018; 21th of August 2018]. "Lactose Intolerance in Infants & Children: Parent FAQs" [1]. Available on:

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