Factors that can make you or your child more prone to lactose intolerance include:

  • Increasing age. Lactose intolerance usually appears in adulthood. The condition is uncommon in babies and young children.
  • Ethnicity. Lactose intolerance is most common in people of African, Asian, Hispanic and American Indian descent.
  • Premature birth. Infants born prematurely may have reduced levels of lactase because the small intestine doesn't develop lactase-producing cells until late in the third trimester.
  • Diseases affecting the small intestine. Small intestine problems that can cause lactose intolerance include bacterial overgrowth, celiac disease and Crohn's disease.
  • Certain cancer treatments. If you have received radiation therapy for cancer in your abdomen or have intestinal complications from chemotherapy, you have an increased risk of lactose intolerance.
April 14, 2015

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