Lactose Intolerance in Washington
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What is lactose intolerance?
Lactose intolerance is common among U.S. patients. Milk sugar (lactose) is the primary carb in milk and other dairy products. Your body can be “intolerant” of lactose because it doesn't generate an adequate amount of the enzyme lactase to break up lactose.
An intestinal enzyme, lactase, is produced in your duodenum (small intestine) that helps you process lactose. Lactose intolerance is a mild condition but can result in unpleasant symptoms based on your body’s degree of intolerance. Some individuals refer to lactose intolerance as a milk allergy.
If you or a family member need treatment for lactose intolerance in Washington, our gastroenterologist providers can lend a hand. Request a consultation at Washington Gastroenterology and let our knowledge and insight lead you in a positive direction toward a better life.
What is the cause of lactose intolerance?
Lactose intolerance is due to the body’s inability to create, or a shortage in the generation of, lactase. A couple of the primary reasons your body may be unable to yield a sufficient amount of lactase to help process lactose include:
Primary Lactose Intolerance
Primary lactose intolerance is the more common variation of lactose intolerance and is due to the aging process. The more you age, the less lactase your body yields. This type of lactose intolerance can partially be passed through hereditary factors and impacts specific populations to a greater extent than others. Per the food intolerance network, lactase deficiency affects 5 – 17% of Europeans, approximately 44% of Americans, about 50% of Latino/Hispanic individuals, and 60 – 80% of Asians and Africans.
Secondary Lactose Intolerance
Secondary lactose deficiency typically occurs when the small intestine (duodenum) is damaged because of a sickness, trauma, surgical procedure, or more severe conditions like celiac disease or Crohn’s disease. This is due to the production of lactase slowing when the small intestine (duodenum) becomes bloated. Treatment of the disorder might revive the function of the duodenum (small intestine) and return lactase levels to normal.
To request more information about lactose intolerance, contact a Washington Gastroenterology location in your area to request an appointment with a GI specialist who treats the condition. Our GI providers can give professional tips and information on how to best treat lactose intolerance.
What are the symptoms of lactose intolerance?
The signs of lactose intolerance can differ for each person depending on the amount of lactase they can generate. Some of the common signs and symptoms of lactose intolerance include the following:
- Abdominal discomfort
- Occasional constipation
If you notice any of the outlined signs or symptoms mentioned here, our GI providers in Washington can provide assistance and identify an approach that works best for your digestive health.
What are the treatment options for lactose intolerance?
The ideal thing to do if you are lactose intolerant is to avoid consuming dairy products altogether. There is presently no way to encourage lactase generation in the body. As such, the goal of therapy is to refrain from the symptoms that result from consuming lactose. If you approach lactose intolerance as a dairy allergy, that may help you make your decisions.
Other treatments and answers for managing lactose intolerance that our Washington gastroenterologist providers could propose are:
- Probiotics and prebiotics
- Include small servings of dairy products into your meals to build tolerance
- Lactase enzyme supplements
- Buy lactose-reduced dairy products
Relieve your symptoms with expert care
When your lactose intolerance becomes life-altering, let our skilled GI providers at Washington Gastroenterology step in to provide solutions. We can build a treatment protocol to help you rediscover your quality of life so that you may continue doing the activities you enjoy. To receive care for lactose intolerance in Washington, connect with our team today to request a consultation with a local GI specialist in your community.
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