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What Is Lactose Intolerance?

Learn about lactose intolerance from gastroenterologist Lisa Ganjhu, M.D. in this Howcast video about stomach problems and digestive disorders.


So basically, lactose intolerance is the inability to digest milk protein. It's fairly common in Asians, Africans, and Southern Europeans. And basically what happens is if they're drinking milk, they tend to get bloated. May have some diarrhea, or some abdominal pain. So this population of patients don't have the enzyme in order to break down the milk protein. But there's several ways of getting around this. And that's by either not drinking the milk, or by taking a supplemental enzyme to help break down that milk protein. Lactose intolerance is more of an inconvenience. It's not a milk allergy, which is a very different entity. There are some children that are allergic to milk and they actually get hives or a real true allergic reaction. For lactose intolerance it's more of a discomfort after drinking milk. And again, those can be remedied by taking supplements to help breaking down that milk protein.

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