Lactose intolerance is defined as experience of a myriad of gastrointestinal symptoms following an intake of lactose-containing food products. The worldwide estimates that suggest only about 35% of people to be lactase persistent, there is high prevalence of lactase non-persistence in India. Lactose intolerance is therefore a common condition seen in the general population and patients, in fact representing the most prevalent intestinal malabsorption disorder and most common reason for limiting milk and dairy products consumption. In affected individuals, manifestations of lactose intolerance can be disabling enough to interfere with daily quality-of-life
TYPES OF LACTOSE INTOLERANCE
- Generally, lactose intolerance can be described in three different forms, i.e., congenital, primary late onset, and secondary. Congenital lactose intolerance is usually rare, with symptoms attributable to congenital deficiency of lactase enzyme; symptoms occur short after birth on introduction of milk.
- In adult patients, lactose intolerance can either be due to primary or secondary lactase deficiency. While primary lactase deficiency would result in symptoms on consuming a glass of milk, secondary lactase deficiency occurs when lactase is reduced because of diseases affecting the intestinal mucosa.2 A number of causes have been identified as possible etiologist for secondary lactose intolerance, such as infectious gastroenteritis, irritable bowel disease, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)