Lactose Intolerance and its Types

The inability to break down a type of sugar known as lactose commonly detected in dairy products and not being able to digest it is known as Lactose intolerance. Lactose intolerance is diagnosed when your small intestine doesn’t produce enough lactase to break down lactose. Due to this, the excessive lactose goes down to the large intestine. Lactose intolerance is the common cause of triggering symptoms like gastric issues, cramps, bloating, etc. It is also known as lactase deficiency. Lactose intolerance is commonly found in adults as in children; it’s mainly caused because of some infection and gets better eventually. The condition of lactose intolerance is confirmed when a physician performs lactose intolerance tests.

Types of Lactose Intolerance

Lactose intolerance can be divided into three parts:
  • Primary lactose intolerance
Primary lactose intolerance is the most common type of lactose intolerance. People are born with enough lactase because, as babies, they need lactase to digest the milk they get from their mothers. However, the amount of lactase produced in a body may decrease over time, mainly because of age or the diversity that increases in their diet over the years. Therefore, it’s best to know that the decrease in lactase production is a slow process. This lactose intolerance is commonly found in Asian, African, and Hispanic bloodlines.
  • Secondary lactose intolerance
In cases of celiac disease or inflammatory bowel disease, an injury or surgery of your small intestine can cause secondary lactose intolerance. The secondary type of lactose intolerance can happen regardless of age and due to taking extensive medication for an extended period. Fortunately, physicians can help cure secondary lactose intolerance if the injury is treated successfully.
  • Congenital/Developmental lactose intolerance
Congenital lactose intolerance is a rare type inherited from parents through defective genes; due to this, lactase is absent in a child’s body. As a result of this type of lactose intolerance, a child’s body also rejects breast milk. As a result, they will face severe diarrhoea as soon as they’re offered milk. This intolerance can be life-threatening if it’s not identified in the early stages of a child’s life. On the other hand, developmental lactose intolerance occurs during premature birth. Since lactase production begins in the 34th week, the baby would have to face lactose intolerance if born before the 34th week.

Take lactose intolerance tests

It’s better to consult a general physician if you ever seem to face any symptoms related to lactose intolerance; your physicians might perform different lactose intolerance tests, namely, the hydrogen breath test, lactose intolerance test, or the stool acidity test to verify your condition and eventually make any dietary changes.


Since lactose intolerance symptoms are the same as many other diseases, make sure you consult a doctor before taking matters into your hand. For example, it could be a sign of inflammatory bowel or celiac disease. If lactose intolerance is detected, your doctor might relieve you from dairy foods and milk for a couple of weeks and then give you specific pointers to control the symptoms from triggering.