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How Can I Tell if My Baby has Lactose Intolerance or a Milk Allergy?

By HERWriter
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does my baby have a milk allergy or lactose intolerance Kudrin Ruslan/PhotoSpin

What is Lactose Intolerance?

Lactose intolerance occurs when the body doesn’t break down the lactose in milk because the lactase enzyme is either not present at all or not functioning properly. (3) Lactose is a form of sugar.

According to a report by the Committee on Nutrition of the American Academy of Pediatrics, approximately 70 percent of the world’s population has primary lactase deficiency -- that is, partial or complete absence of lactase that can develop during childhood.

Lactose intolerance is most prevalent in 50 percent to 80 percent of Hispanics, 60 percent to 80 percent of Ashkenazi Jews and blacks, and nearly 100 percent of Asian and American Indians.

“Approximately 20% of Hispanic, Asian, and black children younger than 5 years of age have evidence of lactase deficiency and lactose malabsorption, whereas white children typically do not develop symptoms of lactose intolerance until after 4 or 5 years of age.” (4)

Symptoms of Lactose Intolerance

Symptoms of lactose intolerance include:

• Abdominal pain

• Diarrhea

• Nausea

• Flatulence

• Bloating

What is a Milk Allergy?

In the case of a milk allergy, the body attacks the casein or whey proteins in milk with antibodies as if they are a threat.

In theory, heating the milk can break down the whey and reduce a child's reaction. However, the majority of allergic reactions to milk involve both the casein and whey, so drinking milk should be avoided. Young children are most commonly affected by milk allergies. (3)

According to Dr. Harris Steinman’s report published on the Science in Africa On-Line Science Magazine, approximately 1 percent to 7 percent of all children will develop a milk allergy.

Symptoms of a Milk Allergy

Symptoms indicating the body’s immune response to milk proteins can appear immediately or up to several hours or days following the intake of moderate to large amounts of cow’s milk including dairy products (i.e., ice cream, cheese, yogurt).

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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