Gastroenterology clinic

Dealing with lactose intolerance

Katherine Ellard



The diagnosis of lactose intolerance should be considered in patients with ongoing gastrointestinal symptoms. This article provides some simple ways to diagnose and manage the condition.

Article Extract

  • Lactose intolerance should be considered in a patient complaining of abdominal bloating, pain, flatulence and diarrhoea.

  • Lactose intolerance is caused by a decreased level of the enzyme lactase, which is found in the small intestine. As a result, lactose is not broken down into glucose and galactose for absorption. Instead, it enters the colon where it is fermented into gases and fatty acids, which cause the symptoms.

  • As an individual gets older or following gastroenteritis, lactose intolerance can develop spontaneously. Lactose intolerance can also occur in patients with coeliac disease.

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