Multimedia

People with lactose intolerance are unable to fully digest the sugar (lactose) in milk. As a result, they have diarrhea, gas and bloating after eating or drinking dairy products. The condition, which is also called lactose malabsorption, is usually harmless, but its symptoms can be uncomfortable.

A deficiency of lactase — an enzyme produced in your small intestine — is usually responsible for lactose intolerance. Many people have low levels of lactase but are able to digest milk products without problems. If you're actually lactose intolerant, though, your lactase deficiency leads to symptoms after you eat dairy foods.

Most people with lactose intolerance can manage the condition without having to give up all dairy foods.

April 14, 2015

You Are ... The Campaign for Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Make a difference today.