Allergy to lactose: symptoms, possible causes and characteristics of treatment
Lactose is one of the varieties of complex sugars. It is found in natural dairy products, digested by the human body with an enzyme called lactase. A small percentage of people named above this enzyme. In this article we will consider what is the allergy to lactose, the symptoms and causes of its occurrence, and also introduce the reader to the main methods of treating this disease.
According to statistics, such an illness affects both children and adults alike. In either case, it is important to establish the presence of this disease as early as possible, and also to distinguish it from an allergy to milk. Because these are completely different things. So, in the case of hypersensitivity to lactose, it is not necessary to eliminate dairy products from the diet, but with an allergic reaction to milk, this is simply necessary.
Before we list the symptoms of allergy to lactose in adults, the reasons for the appearance of such a reaction will be called. The main ones are:
- Genetic predisposition. If one of the parents noted a deficiency of enzymes for digesting lactose, then with a probability of up to 25%, we can say that the child will be born with this problem. The most common genetic inheritance of Asian residents.
- Sometimes the symptoms of lactose allergy may occur only after the child reaches 3 years of age. This is due to the fact that this age period is characterized by a natural decrease in the content of lactase in the body.
- According to numerous studies, the symptoms of lactose allergy may appear due to the development in the body of other diseases associated with disruption of the cells of the small intestine, in which the development of the abovementioned enzyme occurs.
Now let's look at the symptoms of this disease. Symptoms of lactose allergy should be known in order to distinguish the disease from intolerance to milk, which is so common in the adult population. Now we will understand this question.
So, an allergy to lactose will not be known until an hour or more after the use of dairy products, and milk intolerance will manifest itself after 5-10 minutes. In most cases, with allergies to lactose the following changes in the body occur:
- liquid stool;
- abdominal discomfort;
- the presence of pain in the stomach and intestines;
- various manifestations on the skin: rashes, redness, diathesis;
- itching of the skin;
- elevated body temperature;
- allergic rhinitis;
- a headache of a different nature;
- in some cases develops bronchospasm, which is most dangerous in childhood.
The most severe manifestation of lactose allergy is Quincke's edema and anaphylactic shock. When these complications arise, medical care is urgently needed. In many respects the symptoms of lactose allergy are similar to the usual food poisoning. However, if you do not recognize such a reaction in time, you can allow the development of a more complex form of the disease course.
Allergy to galactose
In some cases, the allergy does not arise on lactose, but on another substance called galactose. This substance is also formed by dividing the milk sugar by the enzyme lactase into separate constituents for its subsequent assimilation. Allergy to galactose is much less common. However, its manifestations are no less dangerous. The fact is that the development of an allergic reaction to galactose can not be noticed immediately after eating dairy products. Since in this case there is a cumulative effect. When a high amount of galactose accumulates in the body of a child or an adult, allergy develops, the complications of which are especially dangerous.
These include the following condition: impaired renal and hepatic function, hypoglycemia, cataract, delay in the child's physical and mental development. If the presence of an allergy to galactose is established, it is necessary to immediately stop the use of any dairy products and take measures to cleanse the body of accumulated allergens.
Do not confuse allergy with poisoning! Analysis for the determination of the allergic reaction
Symptoms of allergy to lactose in adults are almost the same in all cases. However, quite often a person does not even guess what became the true cause of the indisposition. Since allergy symptoms are very easily confused with ordinary poisoning. Often, with intolerance to lactose, a person encounters in a sufficiently mature age, which can be triggered by various diseases or surgical interventions affecting the organs of the gastrointestinal tract. That is why it is important after all serious operations to comply with the recommended diet and include the rest of the products gradually, watching the reaction of the body.
If a person has a suspicion that his body has developed an intolerance to dairy products, he can take an analysis for allergy to lactose. Symptoms, although they indicate the presence of such a reaction, but after all, as already mentioned, they can be confused with the signs of some other disease.
Allergy in children and babies
Now let us examine in more detail how the symptoms of allergy to lactose in children manifest themselves. Intolerance of lactase in an easy degree is characteristic of all children older than two years. This is a perfectly normal age-related change in the body. Since the need for milk is significantly reduced. It is quite logical to assume that, with a decrease in the need for milk, there is a decrease in the production of the enzyme lactase by the body. This leads to lactose intolerance.
As the child's body is not yet strong enough, it is difficult for him to cope with any diseases, including various kinds of allergies. Parents should closely monitor the condition of the child and, if necessary, seek medical help. It is especially dangerous to miss the symptoms of allergy to lactose in infants. Since for a tiny organism to cope with the disease alone - an impossible task. It is possible to suspect lactose intolerance in the baby if the child does not stop vomiting and diarrhea after consuming mother's milk. To guard mother should also some other signs:
- lack of weight gain or insignificant increase;
- disorder of stools;
- various manifestations on the skin - rashes, redness, itching;
- breast failure after 3-5 minutes of feeding;
- the child presses his legs, cries and fits.
Allergy to lactose can manifest not only with breastfeeding, but also with the feeding of a child with artificial mixtures containing soy or cow protein. For babies, who are diagnosed with allergies to lactose, a special lactose-free diet has been developed. It is important to find the problem in a timely manner. And also switch to lactose-free mixtures to avoid delay in the development of the child and other health problems.
Especially often intolerance occurs in premature babies, the gastrointestinal tract of which is not mature enough to produce a lactase enzyme. Infants born before the term should receive increased attention from both the medical staff and the parents, especially mothers.
Treatment of allergy to lactose, if the disease is confirmed by a doctor, should first of all start with the introduction of a special diet called elimination. Such a food system implies the complete exclusion of dairy products from the diet. It is important to know the composition of each meal. Since milk may not be visible in it, it will be present. To simplify the task, you can start a notebook in which all the consumed products and the body's reaction to them will be fixed. Adult person, depending on the severity of allergy may be allowed to sour milk products in small quantities. Since in them most of the lactose is destroyed by bacteria.
If the patient does not notice the presence of milk in any product and the allergic reaction is already taking place, it is necessary to seek medical help, where appropriate measures will be taken to cleanse the body. For this purpose, enterosorbent preparations are used, and for the removal of symptoms, a drug such as "Semiticon" can be recommended. If the symptoms of allergy are slightly expressed, the patient can take a dose of enzyme supplements containing lactase, which should always be in his medicine cabinet.
Symptoms of allergy to lactose in children can bring them much greater discomfort than adults. Therefore it is very important to help the kid in time. Specially for children, the enzyme supplement "Lactase Baby", which can be used at the age of 0 to 7 years, is developed.
In order to prevent the development of allergy to lactose, doctors recommend limiting the use of products containing raw milk. The body of an adult man digests milk products much more quickly. Therefore, they should be given preference.
Now you know what an allergy to lactose. Causes, symptoms, treatment and other nuances of the disease - these are all important topics are discussed in detail in our article. And remember that any illness you need to know in person, especially when it comes to allergies, the symptoms of which can often be similar to other conditions.