Lactose Intolerance, Child

Lactose intolerance is when the body is not able to digest lactose, a sugar found in milk and milk products. Lactose intolerance is not a milk allergy.

CAUSES

Children with lactose intolerance do not have enough of the enzyme lactase to help digest lactose.

SYMPTOMS

  • Feeling sick to the stomach (nauseous).

  • Diarrhea.

  • Cramps.

  • Fussiness.

  • Bloating.

  • Gas.

Symptoms usually show up a half hour or 2 hours after eating or drinking foods containing lactose.

DIAGNOSIS

There are several tests your caregiver can do to make this diagnosis including the hydrogen breath test and stool acidity test.

TREATMENT

Your child may be given a medicine to take when he or she eats lactose-containing foods or drinks. The medicine, that contains the lactase enzyme, can help your child digest lactose better.

HOME CARE INSTRUCTIONS

  • Feed your child dairy products as told by his or her caregiver or dietitian.

  • Give all medicine as directed by your child's caregiver.

  • Find lactose-free or lactose-reduced products at your local grocery store. Talk to your child's caregiver or dietician about giving dietary supplements.

The following is the amount of calcium needed from the diet:

  • 0 to 6 months: 210 mg

  • 7 to 12 months: 270 mg

  • 1 to 3 years: 500 mg

  • 4 to 8 years: 800 mg

  • 9 to 18 years: 1300 mg

Calcium and Lactose in Common Foods

Non-Dairy Products / Calcium Content (mg)

  • Calcium-fortified orange juice, 1 cup / 308 to 344 mg

  • Sardines, with edible bones, 3 oz / 270 mg

  • Salmon, canned, with edible bones, 3 oz / 205 mg

  • Soymilk, fortified, 1 cup / 200 mg

  • Broccoli (raw), 1 cup / 90 mg

  • Orange, 1 medium / 50 mg

  • Pinto beans, ½ cup / 40 mg

  • Tuna, canned, 3 oz / 10 mg

  • Lettuce greens, ½ cup / 10 mg

Dairy Products / Calcium Content (mg) / Lactose Content (g)

  • Yogurt, plain, low-fat, 1 cup / 415 mg / 5 g

  • Milk, reduced fat, 1 cup / 295 mg / 11 g

  • Swiss cheese, 1 oz / 270 mg / 1 g

  • Ice cream, ½ cup / 85 mg / 6 g

  • Cottage cheese, ½ cup / 75 mg / 2 to 3 g

SEEK MEDICAL CARE IF:

Your child has no relief from his or her symptoms, even with the diet changes.