Lactose Intolerance: Diagnosis and Management

If your doctor suspects you of suffering from lactose intolerance from symptoms your doctor may decide to confirm the diagnosis of lactose intolerance by some tests. One or more tests may be used for confirming the diagnosis. The following tests can help diagnosis of lactose intolerance:

Lactose intolerance test:

As the name suggest, it is designed to diagnose lactose intolerance. In this test you are given liquid that contain high concentration of lactose. Two hours after drinking the liquid, your blood glucose is tested. If there is no significant rise in blood glucose after two hours, it indicates that you are unable to digest (breakdown) lactose which is combination of glucose and galactose. This indicates you have lactose intolerance.

Hydrogen breath test:

This test also let you drink liquid containing high concentration of lactose. After drinking liquid that contain high concentration of lactose, your doctor test your breath at regular interval, for presence of hydrogen. Under normal circumstances, there is very little hydrogen in breath. However, if you cannot digest lactose it will get fermented by bacteria present in colon and produce hydrogen and other gases, which are than absorbed by the intestine and eventually exhaled by lungs. This hydrogen is detected by your doctor. More than usual hydrogen in breath indicates lactose intolerance.

Stool acidity test:

This test is designed for kids who cannot undergo lactose intolerance test or hydrogen breath test. Fermentation of lactose produces lactic acid and other acids which makes stool more acidic than usual, which indicate lactose intolerance.

Probiotics in lactose intolerance:

Probiotics are helpful living organisms present in out gut. Probiotics are essential for maintaining healthy digestive system. Taking probiotics may be helpful in lactose intolerance, especially when other treatment modalities fail. Probiotics are available as capsules or in powder form. Probiotics are also present in food items such as yogurt. They are considered safe and can be used safely in lactose intolerance and various other gastrointestinal problems.

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