Lactose intolerance is an exclusive condition where subject is unable to digest lactose due to inadequate amount of enzyme lactase in the body. It is a genetically inherited disease that could be life-long if left untreated. It can be categorized into three types: primary, secondary and congenital lactose deficiency.
Pathway of occurrence of the disease:
The lactase enzyme is produced in the microvilli of small intestine enterocyte that metabolically hydrolyses ingested lactose into galactose and glucose to diffuse across the cell membrane.
The reaction time in jejunum mucosa is important for proper absorption of lactose. Hypolactasia results in creating osmotic gradient leading to influx of fluid into the lumen of bowl. Increase in the amount of fluid may attract bacteria in the colon and the process of fermentation is initiated.
As a result lactose gets broken down into monosaccharide that is impermeable across the membrane substantially increasing gas and fluid in the bowl.
Common symptoms of the disease:
Various factors are responsible for severity and seriousness of the disease that include etiology, age, and gender.
Common symptoms include gastrointestinal abnormality including watery stool, abdominal pain and bloating, excessive flatus. Subject may be intolerant to milk products so control over diet is often prescribed.
Suggested Diagnosis and Tests for Lactose (Milk) Intolerance