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Lactose intolerance happens when the body
cannot digest and absorb lactose. Lactose is the sugar found in
milk and milk products and is sometimes called 'milk sugar'. The
symptoms of lactose intolerance include stomach pain and
For children aged seven to 10 years, lactose
intolerance is usually treated by avoiding milk or products
containing milk or lactose. Some children develop a
permanent intolerance to lactose and have to avoid these foods all
Lactose intolerance can be caused by some
illnesses, such as gastroenteritis, which temporarily reduce the
body's ability to digest lactose. Intolerance to other foods, infection or
bowel surgery can also result in lactose intolerance.
A low lactose diet is recommended for a few
weeks. This means avoiding all milk and products that
have milk or lactose in them. A normal diet can usually be
reintroduced in consultation with your child's doctor or dietitian.
Read ingredient labels on commercial products
carefully to avoid these ingredients. Check with your doctor or
pharmacist whether any medication your child is prescribed contains
Use infant formula products that are low in
lactose, such as those listed below. These can be used in place of
your usual formula or cow's milk. They are available from the
chemist or on prescription from your doctor.
Soy formula is not
recommended for infants younger than six months
Appropriate soy formulas for
older infants includes Infasoy, Karicare Soy and Isomil.
Select foods from each of the following groups
each day for a nutritious, low lactose diet.
Young children -
aim for two to three serves of low lactose dairy products or lactose-free
milk each day.Older children - aim for three serves of low lactose
dairy products or lactose-free milk each day.Teenagers - aim for four serves of low lactose
dairy products or lactose-free milk each day.
Lacteezedrops and tablets contain
and can be taken with, or added to, foods containing lactose. The
lactase present in Lacteeze breaks down the lactose, making the
product lactose-free. You can buy Lacteeze online from www.lacteeze.com.au or from
Remember that small amounts of lactose are usually well tolerated.
Large amounts of lactose usually produce symptoms.
Discuss with your child's doctor or dietitian the
reintroduction of foods containing lactose. This needs to be
done slowly and under supervision, over the course of a week or longer.
Developed in consultation with the RCH
Nutrition and Food Services Department and Gastroenterology. First
published Feb 2007. Reviewed October 2010.
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