Statistics show that about three-quarters of adults worldwide have lactose intolerance, some of them even not knowing they have this deficiency. It is more common than milk allergy, but when it comes to babies, the percentage of children who are lactose intolerant or allergic to milk is a small one, but it is a problem that some children face.
Lactose intolerance. Symptoms and causes
Lactose is the sugar found in milk, and milk carbohydrate intolerance is actually a gut enzyme deficiency. In the body of those with this deficiency is not enough lactase, the enzyme that separates galactose and glucose.
In other words, it is about the body's inability to completely digest milk. From here various gastrointestinal problems appear, which are not serious, but are uncomfortable. These problems include flatulence, diarrhea, bloating, abdominal pain. They usually occur within 30 to 60 minutes after eating lactose-containing foods.
In the case of children born prematurely these problems occur more often, but in general, infants do not have lactose intolerance, lactase deficiency appears after the age of 7 years in general and especially in adults.
There are no causes or risk factors for lactose intolerance. It is not a behavior that causes this deficiency, it naturally settles in the body after the age of 2 years when the level of lactase produced is considerably reduced.
In very rare cases, babies are lactose intolerant, assuming both parents have lactase deficiency and the child inherits the gene. Lactose-intolerant infants have problems not only in cow's milk or in powdered milk, but also in breast milk. The little ones will have abdominal pain and diarrhea because of this deficiency. It is also possible that babies will only have episodes of lactose intolerance and after a short period of time their body will begin to produce lactase needed for milk digestion.
Lactose intolerance manifests itself differently from one person to another, there are people who show episodes, people who show symptoms only after consuming a larger quantity of products containing lactose and people who have a very small amount of milk. the symptoms of intolerance.
In the case of milk allergy, things are a little different. The body mistakenly identifies milk proteins as dangerous to the body. It is extremely rare for a baby to have an allergy to breast milk, generally speaking cow's milk. As an incident, about 2-3 percent of infants suffer from this allergy, but overcome it over time.
As in the case of lactose intolerance, in the case of milk allergy it is not about the studied and known risk factors. Milk allergy is usually genetic, with environmental factors having little contribution to its development. It appears in the first 3 months of life, and in children who come from families with an allergic history it appears from the first month.
The symptoms in the case of milk allergy are the appearance of some skin rash similar to eczema, swelling of the face, lips, eyes and eyelids. It can also cause dry and spastic cough, as well as diarrhea and vomiting. Rarely and only in extreme cases can anaphylactic shock occur.
Neither milk allergy nor lactose intolerance can be prevented in any way, so all you can do if your child suffers from one of these medical conditions is to pay close attention to his diet.
Milk allergy is generally treated with antihistamines and in extreme cases the safe treatment is immediate injection with epinephrine.
What foods a child can consume if lactose intolerant / allergic to milk
Milk and dairy products are ubiquitous foods in the diet of any child, so if your baby is lactose intolerant or allergic to milk you will have to make some efforts to keep him away from them.
It starts with diagnosing the condition of a specialist for the first time. If your baby has symptoms of lactose intolerance, it does not automatically mean that he or she is suffering from it, it could be another condition, so a visit to the pediatrician's office is absolutely necessary.
Another thing you need to consider if your baby can't consume dairy products and that contains lactose is to carefully read labels and choose foods that do not contain lactose. Due to the increased incidence of lactose intolerance, the law requires manufacturers to indicate if their product contains this substance, so the label will help you clarify in this regard. Lactose can be found in many products, not only in dairy products, for example in breakfast cereals, breads or salad dressings, so you should read any label.
Some cheeses contain small amounts of lactose, cheddar and schwitzer for example, and can be easily consumed by those with a minor intolerance. And home-made yogurt has low lactose and is easier to digest than milk, especially since the good bacteria in it helps produce lactase.
It is very important, however, that your baby should have in his diet of all the essential elements of growth, calcium being one of them and being found especially in dairy products. You will need to find other foods high in calcium, such as broccoli, salmon, oranges, soy milk and tofu. It is advisable to consult a nutritionist to identify the foods you can replace dairy products and any supplements they may need.
In the case of infants who have a milk allergy or lactose intolerance there is a special formula without lactose or lactose-free powdered milk that you can feed the baby.
Tags Lactose intolerance Lactose intolerance children