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What happens in my body if I'm lactose intolerant?

ANSWER

When we drink milk or have a milk-based product, lactase in our small intestines breaks down the milk sugar. Then it's absorbed into the body through the small intestine.

But if you're lactose intolerant, it goes on to the colon, where it mixes with normal bacteria and ferments. It can cause gas, bloating and diarrhea.

From: What Is Lactose Intolerance? WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

Cleveland Clinic: “Lactose Intolerance.”

Mayo Clinic: “Lactose intolerance.”

Johns Hopkins Medicine: “Lactose intolerance.”

National Institutes of Health: “Lactose intolerance.”

National Institutes of Health:  “Evolution of lactase persistence: an example of human niche construction.”

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on May 08, 2019

SOURCES:

Cleveland Clinic: “Lactose Intolerance.”

Mayo Clinic: “Lactose intolerance.”

Johns Hopkins Medicine: “Lactose intolerance.”

National Institutes of Health: “Lactose intolerance.”

National Institutes of Health:  “Evolution of lactase persistence: an example of human niche construction.”

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on May 08, 2019

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Who's most likely to be lactose intolerant?

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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

    This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

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