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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

What is Temporary Lactose Intolerance in Toddler?

Lactose intolerance is not unusual in babies and toddlers. This condition can happen to anyone. But, only some people who have ever heard about temporary lactose intolerance toddler. Temporary lactose intolerance is the term that is used to tell non-medical people about the type of lactose intolerance. In medical term, temporary lactose intolerance is more known as secondary lactose intolerance. So, in this article we are going to learn about temporary lactose intolerance especially in toddlers. Have a look.

Lactose intolerance

Lactose is the main sugar that is contained in milk and other dairy products. Lactose is only present in the mammals’ milk. You won’t find lactose anywhere else in nature. When lactose enter the body, it will be broken down by enzyme lactase into glucose and galactose. These carbohydrates gives energy for infants who cannot eat any foods other than breastmilk. Lactose also helps infants to absorb calcium and iron which are rich in milk.
Enzyme lactase is produced in small intestines. If infant’s body produces only small amount of enzyme lactase, it cannot digest lactose properly. So, there will be a lot of undigested lactose collected in gastrointestinal system. This condition is what we called lactose intolerant.

Primary lactose intolerance

Lactose intolerant which occurred because of insufficient enzyme lactase is called primary lactose intolerant. This type lactose intolerant usually begins since birth. The signs and symptoms will occur immediately right after infant gets breastmilk.

Secondary lactose intolerance

Lactose intolerant which occurred as the side effects of other medical conditions is called secondary lactose intolerant. This type lactose intolerant is usually happened when the host body have gastrointestinal infection or have severe food allergy. These conditions often cause the production of enzyme lactase in small intestines to slow down. As the result, the body cannot digest lactose like usual. When the main conditions are relieved, the body will slowly produce enzyme lactase back to normal and gastrointestinal can digest lactose properly again. This type of lactose intolerant only lasts temporary. Therefore, it is also known as temporary lactose intolerance.

What causes temporary lactose intolerance toddler?

There are few reasons why toddler developed temporary lactose intolerance. The common cause is virus infection. Toddler who gets stomach flu, gastroenteritis or bowel infection often gets temporary lactose intolerance too.
Other cause is food allergy such as gluten allergy. Gluten allergy cause irritation in digestive system and wound the intestines. Eventually, it makes the small intestines slow down or even stop producing enzyme lactase for a while. Other medical conditions that may affect the production of enzyme lactase indirectly include Crohn’s disease and cystic fibrosis.

The symptoms of temporary lactose intolerance toddler

The symptoms between primary lactose intolerance and temporary lactose intolerance are no different. The symptoms include:
·         Watery stool. Undigested lactose draw more fluids into digestive system and make the feces composition become watery.
·         Diarrhea. Watery digestive movement cause toddler to defecate more often.
·         Flatulence. Undigested lactose is the food source for bacteria. When bacteria gather in bowel, they produce gas that cause uncomfortable feeling in the bowel. That is why, if your toddler gas excessively right after drinking milks, you might want to check whether it is because lactose intolerance or other causes.
·         Bloating. The accumulated fluids in the bowel makes your toddler’s tummy look swelling.
·         Weight loss. Since the body doesn’t get enough energy from lactose, the body will take the fat as the energy source. Therefore, toddler who has permanent or temporary lactose intolerance will be difficult to increase his or her weight, in fact it will be decreasing.
·         Red bottom. Lactose intolerance increase the acidity level of feces. Acid stool irritates toddler’s bottom and make it red and raw.
·         Crankiness. Because of the uncomfortable feeling in tummy, toddler will be cranky than usual.

Temporary lactose intolerance toddler treatment

The best way to cure temporary lactose intolerance in toddler is by eliminating the main cause. Physicians may prescribe antibiotic for relieving bowel infection. Temporary lactose intolerance will likely be gone once your toddler is healthy again.

If you are still breastfeeding your toddler, ask your doctors whether you should keep continue breastfeeding or replacing it with lactose-free formula. Physicians often prescribe lactose enzyme supplement to treat temporary lactose intolerance. The supplement should be given before drinking milk, so that it can help body to break down lactose. You also might want to modify your toddler diet. Limit the use of milk or dairy products when you cook daily meals. Replace the cow milk with soy milk. Keep food diary, so you know which foods that trigger the most symptoms. This diary will help you when you’re creating daily menu for your toddler. Your toddler may need calcium and vitamin D supplement during temporary lactose intolerance.

Since you cannot completely prevent temporary lactose intolerance toddler to be happened, at least now you know how to control the condition. 

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