Lactose is the natural sugar found in cow’s milk and the milk of other mammals such as goats and sheep. If you think your child might be lactose intolerant, take a look at our advice below.

Cause and Symptoms:

Lactose intolerance is when the digestive system cannot break down lactose, causing unpleasant symptoms such as bloating, wind and diarrhoea. When there is not enough of the enzyme ‘lactase’ in your child’s gut to digest the lactose that has been eaten, it stays in the gut. Symptoms of this include:
– Wind and excess gas
– Stomach rumbling and pains
– Bloating and nausea
– Diarrhoea

Treatment:

If you think your child is suffering from the symptoms listed, consider booking an appointment with the GP to get a full diagnosis. Diagnosis of the condition may be a lactose intolerance test, which involves a series of blood tests that measure the blood sugar levels before and after consuming lactose. If your child’s blood sugar levels do not rise after the consumption of lactose, their body is not digesting it properly and they are intolerant. The doctor can use the results to determine the best course of treatment going forwards – this may involve your child being referred to a dietician for more expert advice on what to eat/not eat.

As a parent, if your child turns out to be intolerant, there several different dairy alternatives which you and your child can try. Alternatives may include:
– Dairy based foods which have a lactose reduced content
– Soya based products – like soya milk, yoghurt and cheese
– Drinks made from other sources such as rice, oats and coconuts – choose products with added calcium to ensure your child is consuming enough

To find out more about lactose intolerance, visit:
https://www.gosh.nhs.uk/conditions-and-treatments/conditions-we-treat/lactose-intolerance

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