Causes of Lactose Intolerance


Cause of Lactose Intolerance: cannot digest lactose because you do not have enough lactase enzyme. The small intestine needs lactase enzyme to break down lactose. If lactose is not digested, it can cause gas and stomach cramps. 1

Cause details for Lactose Intolerance: In most cases, lactose intolerance develops slowly over time. In many people, the body begins to produce less lactase beginning around two years old. As these people become older, they lose the ability to produce lactase, but symptoms of lactose intolerance may not appear until well after childhood. No one knows why this occurs. In other cases, certain digestive diseases or injuries to the small intestine can cause lactose intolerance. Both can reduce the amount of lactase produced by the lining of the small intestine. Another very rare cause is being born without the ability to produce lactase.2

Underlying condition causes of Lactose Intolerance: The list of possible underlying conditions (see also Misdiagnosis of underlying causes of Lactose Intolerance) mentioned in various sources as possible causes of Lactose Intolerance includes:

Related information for causes of Lactose Intolerance: Further relevant information on causes of Lactose Intolerance may be found in the risk factors for Lactose Intolerance and underlying causes of Lactose Intolerance.

1. excerpt from Why Does Milk Bother Me: NIDDK
2. excerpt from Lactose Intolerance: NWHIC

Last revision: May 30, 2003

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