Lactose intolerance is the inability to break down the milk sugar, lactose due to an impairment in the production of the required enzyme, lactase. Whilst a lactose intolerance is uncomfortable it’s not life-threatening whereas a dairy allergy can be.
Identifying a lactose intolerance may seem challenging although, there are several symptoms that can help you to identify a potential lactose intolerance within children. These include nausea, excess flatulence, bloating, diarrhoea and gastrointestinal discomfort following the consumption of lactose-containing foods. Should you suspect your child may have lactose intolerance, it’s recommended to go to your GP for testing as these symptoms may also be indicative of underlying gastrointestinal issues which should be addressed.
The tests for lactose intolerance are non-invasive and straightforward to carry out. In some cases, the GP may ask you to record a food and symptom diary for your child before recommending an exclusion diet. An exclusion diet may require your child to exclude lactose-containing foods for a period of two weeks to see if the symptoms improve.
Alternatively, the GP may offer a breath test that requires your child to consume a lactose solution before measuring hydrogen particles in their breath. From this, the doctor should be able to diagnose lactose intolerance. It’s common for a diagnosis to instil fear and panic although, living with lactose intolerance shouldn’t provoke stress and anxiety as it’s extremely manageable. Remember a lactose intolerance is not the same as a milk allergy and whilst it may be uncomfortable if a child unknowingly consumes too much lactose it’s not dangerous.
When it comes to managing your child’s lactose intolerance daily, the recommendations are to focus on low lactose foods. Rest assured that this does not mean excluding dairy products entirely. Products such as lactose-free milk make living with lactose intolerance very manageable. Of course, there are times when your child wants to eat their favourite ice cream or attends a friend’s house or party where there may be a variety of foods containing lactose. In such cases ensure that your child is well equipped with Milkaid® Junior Tablets – a soft, strawberry flavoured chewable tablet to be consumed ahead of eating or drinking dairy foods, is a great way for them to resume life as normal. Milkaid® Junior provides the enzyme lactase, which is required to break down the milk sugar lactose. Therefore Milkaid® Junior allows the child to be more efficient at breaking down the lactose.
As a parent or a guardian, it’s key not to make a fuss over your child’s lactose intolerance as this can create stress and insecurities within the child. If your child is attending an event or going somewhere where you’re not in control of the food, you should always let the adult in charge know that they don’t tolerate dairy well. Offering Milkaid® Junior and explaining that should the child take two tablets ahead of consuming lactose-containing food is a great way to cover all bases. It’s really key to reiterate that the child is likely to be able to tolerate a small amount of lactose as this will help to put the adult at ease.
Remember lactose intolerance doesn’t have to be all-consuming and if you’re ever in doubt always ensure you have Milkaid® Junior on hand.