Lactose Intolerance

Being lactose intolerant doesn’t necessarily mean you have to give up your favorite dairy foods and the health benefits that come with them.

Lactose Intolerance Definition & Meaning

Lactose intolerance is a group of digestive symptoms that occur when your body cannot properly break down lactose, the sugar found in milk.

When people have lactose intolerance, it means that their body does not produce enough of an enzyme called lactase. This is the enzyme that breaks lactose down into its two individual sugars (called galactose and glucose) that the body can easily absorb.

When the lactase enzyme is not present in the correct amount, the body does not fully break down the lactose sugar. This undigested lactose moves to the large intestine where it can cause uncomfortable symptoms like bloating, cramping, gas, or diarrhea.

What is Lactose Intolerance?

Get the scoop on lactose intolerance. Plus, tips on how you can still enjoy dairy foods from someone who is lactose intolerant.

Read Blog

Related FAQs

How do I know if I'm lactose intolerant?

Being lactose intolerant means you have a hard time digesting the sugar (called lactose) naturally found in milk. Symptoms may include stomachaches, bloating, or gassiness, but these symptoms can have many different causes and could also be signs of other digestive conditions. Visit your doctor to be properly tested for lactose intolerance.

Am I allergic to milk and other dairy foods?

Being lactose intolerant is not the same as having a milk allergy. A milk allergy is caused by a reaction to the protein in milk. This is different from lactose intolerance, which occurs when your body has a hard time digesting the natural sugar (lactose) in milk. Learn more about the important differences here.

Can children be lactose intolerant?

Lactose intolerance is less common in young children. If you think your child is lactose intolerant, talk to your family doctor, pediatrician or dietitian before limiting their dairy intake. Milk and dairy foods provide essential nutrients like calcium, vitamin D, and protein that are vital for growing bodies.

I drank milk when I was younger. Why am I more senstive now?

Your body makes an enzyme called lactase to help digest the lactose in milk. As an adult, your body may be making less of this enzyme then when you were younger. However, you may still be able to enjoy the dairy foods you love.

Learn more about treatment, management, and tips for lactose intolerance.

Sign up for our monthly newsletter!