Lactose intolerance is the inability to digest the lactose in dairy products. Roughly, 65% of the human population has this condition with the number reaching 90% for specific ethnic groups. For example, 60-65% Indians suffer from milk allergy. The signs first show up in children after 30 minutes to 2 hours of milk consumption. It happens because they fail to produce lactase, a natural enzyme in the digestive tract that breaks down lactose.
If a glass or milk or ice cream leads to severe cramps, burping and bloating chances are, the child is suffering from the condition. Before consulting the best pediatric gastroenterologist, here’s what parents must know about lactose intolerance in babies.
Symptoms of Lactose Intolerance
Below are the signs parents must watch out for after the child has consumed milk and yogurt. They can show up within minutes to a few hours. Have a look.
- Mild runny excretion or severe diarrhea.
- Passing of excess gas along with a red bottom.
- Persistent abdominal pain
- Constant vomiting unless the whole food is cleared.
- Frequent cold and skin infections like rashes.
All the signs can be mild to severe depending on the amount of products consumed. Regardless, you must consult a pediatric specialist to early diagnosis and care.
Course of Lactose Intolerance
The condition usually develops in three ways. Acquired Intolerance is the first one where it occurs in the small intestine and usually fades away after infancy. The next one is Primary Lactase Deficiency which is caused due to inherited genetic complications. However, this tends to subside as your diet becomes less dependent on milk. Finally, children might develop Secondary Lactose Intolerance that could lead to major irritation in the digestive system, especially the digestive tract and gut lining, says specialists at the best children’s hospital in Bangalore.
However, the good news is that adequate treatment by top pediatric gastroenterologist can heal the conditions and offer the much-needed relief. In fact, you might be able to reintroduce milk products in small amounts to check if the symptoms are redeveloping.
Tips to Manage Lactose Intolerance
The general treatment mainly depends on the child’s general age, severing of the signs and their age. Have a look at a few lifestyle changes to adopt which might improve the condition.
- Limit the amount the milk in the diet.
- Pick products like cheese and yogurts which are free from lactose.
- The severity of the symptoms can be lowered when milk is paired with other meals. This includes oats, crackers and cereals.
- In case you are completely eliminating milk, do add calcium rich fruits and vegetables in their daily diet. These will include broccoli, kale and collard greens.
Further, get in touch with the best pediatrician to know if the child can consume lactase enzymes. Make sure these over-the-counter medicines are safe and effective without side effects. However, know that no treatment will restore the ability to digest lactase but can only help control the symptoms better.
With time, the child learns how much of dairy products are good for them. This helps them manage the condition on their own and lowers the chances of symptoms.