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Lactase insufficiency in newborns

Symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of lactase deficiency in children

Lactase deficiency is a pathological abnormality in the structure of the body’s enzyme system, in which lactose is not cleaved, and a loose stool appears.

The intestine of each person should normally produce a lactase enzyme, which is necessary for digesting milk sugar or lactose. With disrupted work develops such a pathology, mistakenly called lactose deficiency. This is due to the similarity of the concepts: lactose is milk sugar, and its enzyme is lactase-releasing enzyme.

Lactase insufficiency in newborns

Another misconception is that lactase deficiency is diagnosed exclusively in children. In some people, due to age-related changes in the intestine, lactose intolerance also develops. Depending on the region of residence, medical statistics provide various data on the number of people with a given disease.

In children from birth to up to two years, pathology occurs in 18-30% of clinical cases. Insufficiency of lactase in patients of younger age group (up to 6 years) is 30-85%, and at the age of 9 years and older the disease occurs in 47-85%.

In medicine, primary and secondary lactose deficiency is isolated. Often, when examining patients in their first year of life, they identify a combination of deficiencies in lactase.


If there is a suspicion of lactoseal insufficiency, one or more symptoms have appeared, you should go to an appointment with a gastroenterologist. The expert will recommend making an analysis of feces for carbohydrates. If the study is carried out in infants, the indicator of the element should not exceed 0.25%. If necessary, appoint additional tests: the activity of lactase in biopsies, the determination of the acidity of stool and the concentration of gases.

Lactase insufficiency in newborns

If there are suspicions that the child is intolerant of milk, then certain analyzes and studies will help confirm or disprove the conjecture. In some cases, the detection of a deficiency of lactase will be unpleasant for the baby, but the diagnosis will be accurate:

  • Lactose insufficiency is accurately detected by means of a biopsy of the intestinal mucosa that occurs under anesthesia (shows the activity of lactase);
  • to identify the child's pathology helps the respiratory test and the curve: the baby on an empty stomach give a certain amount of lactose, and then take the blood for a study for an hour;
  • the detection of lactase deficiency by analyzing feces for carbohydrates, which are normal in toddlers are unclear. If they are found, then an analysis is made for clarification of the type: lactose, glucose or galactose;
  • determination of acidity of stool or coprogram, which allows you to determine the amount of fatty acids in the biomaterial.

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