Lactose Intolerance (cont.)
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Lactose Intolerance Medication
Because milk and milk containing products are the main sources of dietary calcium and vitamin D, people with lactose intolerance may be deficient in calcium and vitamin D. Calcium and vitamin D deficiency can lead to early osteoporosis and fragile bones. Therefore, calcium and vitamin D supplements are recommended for people with lactose intolerance.
Lactase enzyme supplements can be added to milk, as mentioned earlier, for people with lactose intolerance.
Lactose Intolerance Follow-up
Most people with lactose intolerance do not require routine follow-up with their doctors for this condition. Once the diagnosis is established, proper dietary changes, ingestion of milk substitutes and proper supplementation usually results in improvement or resolution of the symptoms of lactose intolerance.
Most people with lactose intolerance are cared for by their primary care physicians, internists, and gastroenterologists. Consultation with a dietician or nutritionist is advisable in order to review different foods that may contain hidden lactose and to understand nutritional alternatives.
Prevention of Lactose Intolerance
Prevention of the symptoms of lactose intolerance is primarily focused on avoidance of dietary milk and milk containing products. Some aspects of lactose intolerance may be genetically determined and not modifiable.
Some individuals with lactose intolerance are able to slowly increase the amount of lactose intake in their diet without producing symptoms. This adaptation is most likely due to changes in the metabolism of the bacteria in the colon and not because of production of more lactase enzymes. The bacteria, for example, may produce less gas in order to adapt to a more acidic colonic environment induced by slowly introducing more lactose over time.
Lactose Intolerance Outlook
With proper dietary restriction and supplementation, lactose intolerance, in general, carries an excellent prognosis.
Medically reviewed by John A. Daller, MD; American Board of Surgery with subspecialty certification in surgical critical care
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/1/2016
Bhupinder Anand, MD
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