Lactase deficiency

What is “lactase deficiency”? Many young parents first encounter this term in articles about infant colic and poor weight gain in infants. Moreover, some children are prescribed special mixtures, for example,

Let’s figure it out together. Breast milk and its substitutes contain a milk sugar – lactose. This carbohydrate is necessary for the proper development of the baby, the formation and maturation of the nervous system. For good digestion of lactose in the small intestine of the child an enzyme is produced – lactase. The amount of enzyme in babies varies, as well as different amounts of milk drunk. So, the mismatch between the amount of enzyme in the intestine and the amount of carbohydrate (lactose) in the milk is called “lactase deficiency”.

How does it manifest itself? The baby is uneasy during feeding, cries, sometimes throws the breast, then grabs the nipple again, presses his legs, curves up… In contrast to simple infant colic, which often occurs in the evening, the restlessness with lactase deficiency occurs at any time of day. Abdomen is bloated, a lot of gas, rumbling along the intestines, frequent regurgitation, stools may be frequent (6-15 times a day), watery, frothy, easily absorbed in the diaper.

Alarming signs:

Frequent watery stools,
Reduced urination,
Heavy regurgitation,
Poor or no weight gain,
No “light” period when the infant is comfortable and sleeps soundly.
An experienced pediatrician when examining the baby will be able to assess the situation, suspect or diagnose lactase deficiency, and determine the severity of the condition. The easiest way to diagnose it is a stool test for carbohydrates. Additional tests: ultrasound of the abdominal organs, feces for coprology, etc.

A pediatrician will suggest adding the enzyme lactase (available in drops or powders) to breast milk to improve digestion of milk sugar. If the child is artificially fed, he will be given an adapted formula – low-lactose or lactose-free.

Primary lactase deficiency is a congenital, hereditary enzyme defect and is very rare. Secondary lactase deficiency occurs in premature babies, babies with morpho-functional immaturity (small to gestational age) and babies after an intestinal infection.

If you have difficulty feeding your infant or do not understand his or her behavior, consult your pediatrician. Experienced and sensitive specialists at our clinic will definitely help your baby to cope with any disorders, and set up the normal functioning of all organs. Let’s help your baby together.