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Saturday, May 08, 2010

Lactose Intolerance in Infants

You're a mammal. I'm a mammal. We're all mammals. And that means we all are programmed genetically to drink mother's milk until we are weaned.

So lactose intolerance and infants should be two terms never used together. Yet a pediatric gastroenterologist I once interviewed told me that 10-15% of his patients were lactose intolerance.

To explain this, two facts are needed. One is that the intestines of an infant are delicate and a whole variety of problems can interfere with the lactase-making ability. The other is that a pediatric gastroenterologist is going to see a non-representative sampling of a) all infants and b) sick infants. Even so, maybe one percent of all babies suffer from temporary lactose intolerance at any given moment. The usual term for LI that is caused by an outside source rather than natural shutdown is Secondary LI, but Temporary LI is often used for babies as a reminder to the suffering parents that the condition will probably go away as soon as the child's intestines heal.

At The MedGuru site, Dr. Sania Siddiqui has a decent summary of what to look for and do. It's very basic but a good place to start for information.

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