Sunday, April 29, 2012

What You Should Know About Lactose Intolerance in Children

It is estimated that 60% of the population is lactose intolerant. What does this mean, you ask? Lactose is a natural sugar found in milk and other dairy products. It contributes to the carbohydrate requirements for a baby’s brain development. Oddly enough, many babies and older children are unable to digest the lactose resulting in gas, colic, bouts of diarrhea and occasional vomiting.

 It was once thought that children do not show signs of lactose intolerance until they are at least four years of age. New evidence shows that babies can have one or more forms of lactose intolerance beginning from birth. Common Symptoms of Lactose Intolerance: abdominal pain abdominal bloating gas diarrhea nausea The different forms of lactose intolerance include primary, secondary and congenital (from birth) and lactose overload. The latter deals with an excess of lactose in the system from consuming too much dairy. This type is temporary and will disappear on its own. 

 If you think your child may be lactose intolerant your doctor can perform some tests to determine his or her tolerance to dairy foods. Two tests that are used to diagnose this condition are the Hydrogen Breath Test and the Stool Acidity Test. 

Even breastfeeding babies can be intolerant to their mothers breast milk. In this case, feeding from one breast at a time is recommended to ensure that the infant receives more of the richer hind milk and less of the sugary foremilk which helps the infant’s digestive system.