Can You Develop Lactose Intolerance At Any Age?

Key Facts On Lactose Intolerance At A Glance

Lactose intolerance takes place because of the deficiency of lactase enzyme in the gastrointestinal walls’ inner lining or in small intestines of a person. Since your GI track fails to absorb lactose completely, it breaks down and remains within the gut. This forces the water to enter the gut resulting in abdominal pain and diarrhea. A majority of people suffering from lactose intolerance witness symptoms only when they intake any food consisting of milk or lactose. In this situation, it becomes essential for people to track whatever they eat on a daily basis, as it helps in pinpointing everything, which causes upset stomach or any other similar type of problem.

If you do not suffer from diarrhea after having milk, your problem related to lactose intolerance is a mild one. Despite mild symptoms, you should make sure of consulting with your family doctor. Whenever you visit your doctor’s office, you should make sure bringing a log about everything that you ate resulting in your stomach pain, upset stomach or any other health issue. Based on the information you provide to your doctor, doctor will ask a few important questions pertaining towards your symptoms, like diarrhea and abdominal cramps or pain.

Can You Develop Lactose Intolerance At Any Age?

Can You Develop Lactose Intolerance At Any Age?

Lactose Intolerance and Age Factor

In terms of theory, a person may suffer from lactose intolerance at any point of time in life. However, statistics have revealed that some people showed intolerance to lactose during early years of life, a few of them during teenage years and another few during the adulthood. Furthermore, in some of the cases, lactose intolerance problem develops suddenly with age. Reason for this is that with increase in age, small intestines fail to produce lactase in adequate amount to break down the lactose present in dairy products.

In case you feel gassy and bloated or have nausea and abdominal cramps after within only a few hours of having ice cream, milk shake or milk, it may be because of lactose intolerance. Excluding a few rare instances, almost every newborn baby comes with the ability of making lactase i.e. an enzyme helping your small intestine to digest the sugar content found in your milk i.e. lactose.

However, as you grow old, your lactase enzyme levels start to decline, because of your intake lactose goes directly to your large intestine i.e. colon in undigested form, where bacteria breaks it down leading to the formation of excessive fluid and gas in the procedure. Individuals may develop the problem of lactase deficiency during their adulthood. According to statistics, about 65% of worldwide population deals with the reduced ability of digesting lactose post infancy and childhood.

Lactose Intolerance and Other Factors

Even though age has a major role related to the problem of lactose intolerance, in some cases, the problem occurs because of other factors, which include-

Genetic Factors

Genetic makeup has a major role when you deal with the problem of lactose intolerance. Body of an individual produces lactase in small intestine whenever LCT gene instructs it to do so and with time, LCT gene reduces its functional efficiency leading to lactose intolerance. In this case, the problem may start from only 2 years age and fail to manifest on its own until and unless an individual reaches to the adolescence or adulthood.

Ethnic Groups

A few ethnic groups show relatively higher prone to develop the problem than others show. Accordingly, people belonging to West African, East Asian, Jewish, Arab, Italian and Greek descent affect more commonly from lactose intolerance during their adulthoods.

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Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:May 24, 2019

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