Lactase insufficiency

Lactase insufficiencyLactase deficiency is a disease in which the digestion of dairy products is disrupted. The greatest value, the given disease has in the first year of a life of the child as in its nutrition milk is used as much as possible. Similarly, lactase deficiency can also occur in adulthood.

In the first year of life, breastfeeding is one of the most important elements in a baby's life.

Lactase deficiency can manifest itself with different activity, it depends on such factors:

  • From differences in the intestines of microflora;
  • Different amounts of intake with lactose feed;
  • Individual features of intestinal activity;
  • Different decreases in the level of the enzyme.

In breast milk, mainly carbohydrates are presented in the form of milk sugar - lactose. To assimilate lactose in the body, it must split. Milk sugar has a complex structure, it breaks up in the small intestine into simple molecules - glucose and galactose. It dissociates under the action of a protein catalyst. There are a lot of such enzymes in the body, each directed at a certain type of reaction. Milk sugar is split under the action of an enzyme such as lactase, it is produced in the small intestine. If a small amount of lactase is produced in the body or it is not present at all in the intestine, lactose will not be absorbed in the body in a normal way, and that, and will not be absorbed at all.

Types of lactase deficiency

  1. Primary lactase insufficiency. This is the state of the organism in which the activity of the lactase enzyme is reduced, but the enterocytes that are produced are not damaged. Primary lactase deficiency is an inborn violation of the lactase secretion process. This form of the disease is very rare.
  2. Transient lactase deficiency is a kind of lactase deficiency that occurs in babies that have been prematurely born. Over time, the activity of the enzyme comes to normal, and the disease passes.
  3. Secondary lactase deficiency - this kind arises from any other disease, enterocytes are damaged. Enterocyte can be damaged by immune (intolerance of protein, which is in cow's milk), infectious inflammatory processes in the intestine, lack of trophic factors, atrophic changes. It happens that the secondary lactase deficiency arises against the background of allergic inflammation of the intestine. In this case, the cause of the disease is food allergy, and its complication is lactase deficiency. When breastfeeding, allergic inflammation of the intestine can occur if the nurse has allergens in her diet.

Symptoms of lactase deficiency

  • The child often swells up his tummy;
  • During or after feeding, the baby is very restless;
  • A liquid stool that has a sour smell and is often frothy. A chair can be frequent, and rare, or does not happen without stimulation at all. If lactase deficiency has a severe form, the baby loses weight or poorly recruits it.

In general, the signs of primary lactase deficiency increase with a large consumption of milk. In the first weeks after the birth of the child, no signs appear, later there is frequent gas formation, a little later - painful sensations in the abdominal region, and after that already a loose stool. With secondary lactase deficiency, you can notice in the chair a lot of greens, mucus, as well as often undigested food. But to confirm this disease can only be using certain tests.


The main principle of treatment of lactase deficiency is a differentiated approach. It depends on such factors:

  • The genesis of fermentopathy (secondary and primary)
  • Level of enzymatic insufficiency (hypolactasia, alaktasia);
  • The age of the baby (a child of an early age, a nursing or an elder, a newborn child, premature baby, full-term).

In the presence of primary lactase deficiency treatment is carried out by reducing the amount of lactose in the food. Very often, it is generally excluded from the diet. Together with this, a therapy is performed that corrects the intestinal dysbacteriosis.

In the presence of secondary lactase deficiency, the main attention is paid to the underlying disease and its treatment. The amount of lactose is temporarily limited until the mucosa of the small intestine recovers. If the treatment is effective, then the child normalizes the stool, pain in the abdomen decreases, and flatulence disappears. The excretion of carbohydrates with feces is also normal.

treatment of lactase deficiency

Methods for reducing the amount of lactose

It is necessary to completely eliminate or at least reduce the use of products containing lactose. First you need to give up whole milk. It should be taken into account that there may be a decrease in the intake of calcium in the body. With breastfeeding, a dairy-free diet becomes problematic, since the child's main food is milk. If the baby is breastfed, the restriction in milk is undesirable. In this case, it is recommended to use drugs that contain lactase. They are mixed with breast expressed milk, and lactase is split, without affecting the properties of milk.

Babies who are on mixed artificial feeding need to choose a mixture in which there will be a maximum amount of lactose.

Lunch dishes, such as vegetable purees, cereals, children with lactase deficiency are prepared on water, and not on milk. Juices in the diet of these children are introduced later than other children. If children older than one year have this disease, then for them, dairy products and milk are replaced by specialized ones.