Is it Lactase Enzyme Deficiency or Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

by Dr. David Williams
Filed Under: IBS, Digestive Health
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

Learn how lactase enzyme deficiency can present irritable bowel syndrome symptoms

Irritable bowel syndrome symptoms can be very similar to the symptoms experienced by those suffering from lactase enzyme deficiency. What is lactase enzyme deficiency? In a nutshell, milk and milk products contain a milk sugar called lactose. To properly digest this sugar your small intestine must produce an enzyme called lactase. After age 15 many people can no longer produce the enzyme, and ingesting milk products will result in either diarrhea or constipation, which can mistakenly lead to a diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome.

The good news is that after realizing how widespread lactase enzyme deficiency is, several companies now market pre-digested lactose milk. By adding the enzyme lactase to their products, they’ve eliminated much of the problem. LACTAID is another product that is basically a liquid containing lactase that can be added to milk. Adding a few drops to a carton of milk, then letting it sit overnight, will predigest the lactose milk sugar. LACTAID can be found in most drugstores.

More Dr. Williams Advice on Irritable Bowel Syndrome

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