Discovering that your child is lactose intolerant can be a challenging and overwhelming moment for any parent. It might raise questions about their diet, nutrition, and overall well-being.
However, learning about lactose intolerance and how to manage it can make this journey much smoother for both you and your child. You can rely on Dr. Oforbuike Ewelukwa and our team at Imperial Digestive Health Specialists PLLC for understanding, answers, and guidance.
What is lactose intolerance?
Lactose intolerance is a common digestive condition in which the body can’t fully digest lactose, a sugar found in milk and dairy products. This occurs because the small intestine lacks an enzyme called lactase, which is necessary to break down lactose into simpler sugars for absorption into the bloodstream.
Common signs and symptoms
Lactose intolerance can manifest in various ways, and the severity of symptoms varies from person to person. Common signs to watch for include:
- Stomach cramps
You may need to take note of your child’s symptoms by asking questions. Some children may not want to share their issues, but it’s important that you know.
What to do next
If you suspect that your child is lactose intolerant, or if they’ve been diagnosed with the condition, here’s what you can do:
We can evaluate your child, confirm the diagnosis, and discuss a suitable plan of action.
Make dietary adjustments
Remove or reduce dairy products from your child's diet. Fortunately, there are many lactose-free alternatives available, such as lactose-free milk, dairy-free yogurt, and cheese made from non-dairy sources.
Be diligent about reading food labels to identify hidden sources of lactose. Many processed foods contain lactose or milk-derived ingredients.
In some cases, we may recommend lactase supplements, which can be taken before consuming dairy products to help with digestion.
Keep track of your child's dietary habits and any symptoms they experience. This can help identify specific triggers and make necessary adjustments.
Balance their nutrition
Ensure that your child continues to receive a balanced diet with adequate calcium and vitamin D. These nutrients are essential for growing children and can be obtained from non-dairy sources like fortified plant-based milk, leafy greens, and supplements if needed.
Provide emotional support
Discovering and managing lactose intolerance isn’t just about dietary adjustments; it can also impact your child emotionally. They may feel left out when their friends are enjoying traditional dairy treats. Offering emotional support and helping them find delicious lactose-free alternatives can make a significant difference in their well-being.
We’re here to work closely with you — to help you make the necessary dietary adjustments for your child, offer emotional support, and help your child lead a healthy and happy life despite lactose intolerance.
To learn more, call us today at 832-639-5725 or click here to book an appointment at our Katy, Texas office.