Belching, nausea, bloating, diarrhea and abdominal cramps are symptomatic of disorders related to food intolerances, specifically, a lactose intolerance. The inability of the digestive system of the body to digest lactose is known as lactose intolerance. A deficiency in the digestive enzyme called lactase leads to this inability. Lactase is usually produced by the cells that form the lining of the small intestine. The primary function of lactase is to convert the sugar present in milk into glucose and galactose, which can then easily be absorbed into the body's bloodstream. When this process does not take place and the lactose remains in its normal form, it stays undigested in the intestinal tract. The lactose retains fluids and ferments within the colon, leading to the production of diarrhea, gas and abdominal cramping. Lactose intolerance has been known to produce many consequences and has contributed to digestive disruption and unpleasantness. It is fortunate that the lactose intolerance can be managed easily through an appropriate diet.
Lactose intolerance can be caused by particular disorders of the digestive system as well as by injuries caused to the small intestine which leads to a reduction in the production of the lactase enzymes. There are known cases of children being born with an inability to produce lactase, but this is very rare. In the majority of cases, a lactase deficiency is detected as a condition which develops over a period of time, without any external stimulus. The body's production of lactases decreases, after about 2 years of age. However, studies have shown that some people do not experience any symptoms until many years later.
In a piece of good news, cocoa powder and sugar, in fact even chocolate powders, could be beneficial in helping the body with the process of digesting lactose by slowing down the rate at which the stomach empties itself. A slower process of emptying would lead to less lactose entering your digestive system at once. This would directly result in fewer symptoms. It is preferable not to have milk by itself, especially if you are lactose intolerant. Ensure instead to combine milk with solids such as whole grain cereals to prevent unpleasant symptoms. If you avoid the consumption of milk, you will need to increase your intake of foods rich in calcium. You can opt for foods such as tofu, broccoli, any oily fish, carrots, and green leafy vegetables. You may also consider supplementing your diet with calcium powders such as calcium gluconate. However, do remember to consult with your doctor before you do so.
answered by G M on Feb 17, 2010, 12:37:08