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Lactose Free Diet:

Lactose is a sugar used in dairy products and is commonly known as "milk sugar." Some people suffering from inflammatory bowel disease or Crohn's disease have experienced less pain, diarrhea, and gas if they restrict lactose in their diet.

As long as a patient has enough lactase enzymes to digest the lactose a person takes in, there is no problem. Digestion of lactose will create glucose and galactose, which are two simple sugars. However, some people experience pain caused by cramps from undigested lactose. Lactose that travels down the small intestine may draw up water and cause loose bowel movements, such as diarrhea. When undigested lactose reaches the colon, it becomes digested by bacteria and the following fermentation process causes lots of gas. This gas may cause a bloated feeling, pain in the abdomen, and excessive passing of gas.

In short, lactose may cause a patient to feel:
· Bloating
· Cramps
· Diarrhea
· Excessive gas
· Pain

Symptoms of Lactose Intolerance:

A patient may feel bloating, pain, diarrhea, or gas. These symptoms caused from a failure to digest lactose are referred to as lactose intolerance. If a person ingests more lactose than the small intestine can handle, the person will exhibit some or all of these symptoms.

Dealing with Lactose Intolerance:

Patients with Crohn's disease may experience lactose intolerance for the first time at the onset of their disease. It is worthwhile to avoid lactose products for a reasonable amount of time to see if it makes a difference. If the situation does not improve, there is no point in avoiding lactose because dairy products are a good source of nutrients and energy that are both important to an ill patient.

Eating lactose-containing foods when you are ill with Crohn's disease does not harm the patient. The patient may need to use the bathroom more, experience some abdominal discomfort, or have more gas, but it does not worsen your disease. Remove lactose from your diet temporarily to see if any improvement results, if not, return to eating your natural diet.

Some ways to maintain good calcium intake:
· Purchase lactose-reduced milk.
· Add lactase to milk you drink.
· Take lactase tablets just before and while eating foods containing lactose (Lactase enzymes are available in both liquid and tablet form, tablets are handy if you eat at restaurants).
· Eating aged cheese, such as "Old cheddar" may help maintain a good calcium intake.
· Yogurt made from live bacterial culture tends to have less lactose and may be easier to digest.

See related articles:
Crohn's Disease General Information
Crohn's disease diets


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