Medical Definition of Lactose intolerance

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Lactose intolerance: The inability to digest lactose, a component of milk and some other dairy products. The basis for lactose intolerance is the lack of an enzyme called lactase in the small intestine. The most common symptoms of lactose intolerance are diarrhea, bloating, and gas. The diagnosis may be made via a trial of a lactose-free diet or by special testing. Treatment involves avoidance of products that contain lactose or use of lactase enzyme supplements before eating. See also deficiency, lactase.

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Reviewed on 12/27/2018

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