Lactose intolerance is a common digestive condition where the body is unable to digest lactose, a natural sugar that is found in milk and dairy products. During a normal digestion, lactose is broken down by an enzyme called lactase into glucose and galactose. People with lactose intolerance do not produce enough of lactase; so lactose stays in the digestive system where it is fermented by the gut bacteria resulting in the production of gases. The lack of lactase can be variable, permanent or transient, particularly in young children who often develop a temporary lactose intolerance concomitantly with an infection of the digestive tract. While some lactose intolerant individuals are unable to digest any milk product at all, some are able to tolerate it in small quantities. Thus, the severity of lactose intolerance varies from person to person.
Being lactose intolerant can be very discomforting. The symptoms begin to appear 30 minutes to 3 hours after the intake of milk-based foods and unless the suffering individual is aware of his condition, he or she can get very disturbed by their occurrence. Therefore, one should watch out for these following signs which are reflective of a lactose intolerant system so that they can be prevented by alternatives to lactose-rich foods.
Whenever the digestive tract digestive tract is under stress of any kind, bloating occurs; the abdominal area swells up and a feeling of tightness or fullness is experienced. Indigestion in general tends to cause bloating but in the case of lactose intolerance, the digestive malfunction concerns the small intestine. As the undigested food passes through the body, the bloating also reduces on its own.