Dr. Hugo Rams Jr

Hugo Rams Jr., MD

What is Lactose Intolerance?

Lactose intolerance is the inability to digest a sugar called lactose that is found in milk and dairy products.

Normally when a person eats something containing lactose, an enzyme in the small intestine called lactase breaks down lactose into simpler sugar forms called glucose and galactose. These simple sugars are then easily absorbed into the bloodstream and turned into energy — fuel for our bodies.

People with lactose intolerance do not produce enough of the lactase enzyme to break down lactose. Instead, undigested lactose sits in the gut and gets broken down by bacteria, causing gas, bloating, stomach cramps, and diarrhea.