Lactose intolerance refers to individuals who are unable to digest lactose (or sugars from dairy products) due to a deficiency of lactase (an enzyme produced in the small intestine). Without enough lactase, the body is unable to break down lactose into glucose to be absorbed into the bloodstream for energy.
Although it’s not dangerous, being lactose intolerance can be uncomfortable when dairy products are consumed. The only way to avoid the discomfort is to avoid foods and drinks that contain lactose or by taking lactase digestive enzyme supplements. To determine whether or not you’re lactose intolerant, read about these common symptoms and the available tests that can help reach a diagnosis…
1. Stomach Pain
One of the most common symptoms of lactose intolerance is stomach pain. Usually when a person suffers from any kind of stomach ache or pain, they assume it’s most likely due to something they ate, especially if that person is lactose intolerant. A person will experience this pain because their body is unable to break down lactose.
“Carbohydrates such as lactose cannot be absorbed by the cells lining the colon, but they can be fermented and broken down by the naturally occurring bacteria that live there, known as the microflora,” writes Healthline. As the fermentation of lactose occurs, it releases hydrogen, methane, and carbon dioxide gases, which is what causes the stomach pain and cramps.