Lactose Intolerance In Toddlers – Causes, Symptoms & Treatments

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Does your toddler often suffer from diarrhea? Does she suffer from frequent bouts of stomach cramps and gas due to dairy foods? If yes, then your little one might be suffering from lactose intolerance. Read on to know more about lactose intolerance toddler, its symptoms, and treatments.

What Is Lactose Intolerance?

Lactose intolerance in toddlers occurs when their body lacks the enzyme, lactase. Lactase helps in breaking down lactose, a sugar found in milk. When a toddler’s body fails to produce enough lactase to break down lactose, the unabsorbed lactose passes through the gut without getting digested. The bacteria present in the gut consume this unabsorbed lactose resulting in a build-up of gas in the stomach that makes your toddler suffer.

[ Read: Home Remedies For Gas Relief For Toddlers ]

Causes Of Lactose Intolerance In Toddlers:

Toddlers suffer from two types of lactose intolerance, namely, primary and secondary. These two types have different causes.

Primary lactose intolerance occurs when toddlers possess no lactase enzymes right from their birth. It is a genetic disorder, and it’s quite rare. Toddlers with this type of lactose intolerance need to follow a special diet right from the time they start eating food.

Secondary lactose intolerance occurs when a some ailment or infection disrupts the toddler’s digestive system and adversely affects the production of the enzyme lactase. It can occur due to celiac disease or gastroenteritis that cause temporary irritation in the linings of the small intestine and stomach (1).

[ Read: Symptoms Of Gastroenteritis In Toddlers ]

Signs And Symptoms Of Lactose Intolerance In Toddlers:

Symptoms of lactose intolerance in toddlers begin in about 30 minutes to two hours after consuming foods containing lactose. Common signs of lactose intolerance in toddlers are as below.

  • Diarrhea
  • Gas
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain and swelling
  • Stomach cramps (2)

[ Read: Stomach Pain In Toddlers ]

Treating Lactose Intolerance In Toddlers:

Treatment for lactose intolerance in toddlers involves reducing or eliminating milk products from their diet. Here are some effective ways to treat toddler lactose intolerance.

1. Offer Small Servings:

Toddlers suffering from lactose intolerance may not be able to drink a glass of milk all at once. However, drinking one-third cup of milk in the morning, a third of the cup in the afternoon, and a third cup of milk at night can prevent discomfort and ease the symptoms of lactose intolerance.

2. Avoid Eating Only Dairy Foods:

Eating dairy foods and products on an empty stomach can worsen the symptoms of lactose intolerance in toddlers. So, avoid serving dairy foods alone to your toddler. You can serve a bit of cheese or any other dairy product with a snack or meal.

3. Include Calcium Supplements:

Since toddlers can’t eat dairy foods and milk, they may suffer from the deficiency of calcium, vitamin D, proteins, and riboflavin. Having calcium supplements can help toddlers combat calcium deficiency substantially. You can also offer foods to your toddler that are naturally rich in calcium or are calcium-fortified to prevent the risk of calcium deficiency and disorders resulting due to it.

[ Read: Food Allergies In Toddlers ]

4. Drink Hydrolyzed Milk:

Another treatment to treat toddler with lactose intolerance is offering them hydrolyzed milk or lactose-reduced milk to drink. Lactase enzyme is added to the milk hours before your toddler consumes it. Seek a professional physician’s assistance to offer the right quantity of hydrolyzed milk to your toddler on a regular basis.

5. Have Capsules Or Drops Of Lactase Enzyme:

Lactase enzyme is available in the form of capsules, drops, pills. It also is available in the chewable form. You can give them to your toddlers before they consume dairy products. Also, you can add its drops to a carton of milk. Follow your physician’s guidance when offering products containing lactase enzyme (3).

Is your toddler suffering from lactose intolerance? What did you do to reduce his discomfort? Share your valuable knowledge and experiences with other mommies facing similar issues. You can comment in the box below!