Lactose intolerance is caused by a deficiency of the enzyme lactase, which is needed to breakdown the sugar lactose found in dairy products. Without this enzyme, lactose is not properly digested, leading to the symptoms associated with lactose intolerance.
Lactose intolerance can be diagnosed through a number of different tests, including a hydrogen breath test, lactose tolerance test, and endoscopy.
Symptoms of lactose intolerance can be similar to other digestive disorders, including celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and inflammatory bowel disease.
Treatment for lactose intolerance includes avoiding dairy products and taking lactase supplements. Additionally, some people may benefit from a diet that is low in lactose.
If lactose intolerance is properly diagnosed and managed, the prognosis is generally good. Symptoms should be relieved with dietary changes and the use of lactase supplements.