How long do lactose intolerance symptoms last?

In this brief guide, we’ll address the search query: “How long do lactose intolerance symptoms last?” Also, we’ll explore what lactose intolerance is, what lactose is, what alternatives there are for lactose intolerant patients to consume, and who may be at risk of developing lactose intolerance. 

How long do lactose intolerance symptoms last? 

Symptoms of lactose intolerance can last for up to 48 hours after ingesting dairy products with lactose in. Symptoms can begin anywhere from a half-hour to 2 hours after ingesting dairy and their severity will depend on the amount of lactose that has been ingested 

Lactose intolerance is a manageable condition that can be addressed with portion control, eschewing lactose-dairy products, and medication. We encourage our readers to consult with a physician if their symptoms are debilitating or otherwise have detrimental effects on their quality of life. 

Also, we encourage our readers to speak with a nutritionist, regarding how they can source essential nutrients found in milk. These include calcium, vitamin D, protein, and phosphorus, to name a few. 

What is lactose intolerance? 

Lactose intolerance is an inability to process lactose– the sugar that is found in milk. Symptoms include bloating, cholics, diarrhea, burping, flatulency, fatty stools, indigestion, and meteorism (an accumulation of gas in the intestinal tract). 

Lactose intolerance can occur at any age, and it may have especially detrimental effects in children, who source protein and other nutrients that are essential for growth, from milk.

It’s important to note that lactose intolerance is not the same as a dairy allergy, as an allergic reaction is triggered by an immune response, whereas lactose intolerance is defined as the inability to process lactose. 

What is lactose? 

Lactose is a disaccharide found in milk. This means that is a sugar made up of two simpler sugars, namely: glucose and galactose. 

On its own, lactose has a white color, and can be used to process foods, as it confers a modestly sweet flavor. 

Lactose is an important component of dairy and more importantly, breast milk. Mammals feed on breast milk in the early stages after their birth and obtain nourishment, in the form of sugars, proteins, vitamins, minerals and other bioactive compounds. 

Lactose can be used in the food industry, such as processing alcoholic beverages, to formulate baby milk, and in pharmaceuticals. 

What alternatives are there for lactose intolerant patients? 

Lactose intolerant patients can manage their disorder with dietary changes, such as cutting out dairy with lactose, consuming probiotics, taking enzymes that are formulated to break down lactose, or by consuming modest amounts of dairy food. 

There is no cure for lactose intolerance, though its symptoms are manageable and can help our readers maintain a proper quality of life. 

Foods that include lactose may be off-limits to some of our readers, though portion control also plays a part in mitigating symptoms. 

Additionally, there are lactase tablets and drops that can be mixed with milk. These will break down the lactose and prevent the onset of symptoms and discomfort. However, these products may not be indicated for all patients, such as pregnant and breastfeeding women, as well as small children. 

Who is at risk of developing lactose intolerance? 

Lactose intolerance has a higher incidence in people of American-Indian, Hispanic, African, and Asian descendance.

Also, as a person ages, there is a higher chance of him or her becoming lactose intolerant, as milk (and by extension lactose) are only aimed at providing nourishment during the initial stages of a person’s life. 

People who undergo certain treatments such as radiation for cancer, or those who suffer diseases of the digestive tract may also become lactose intolerant. 

Also, babies that were premature at birth have a higher risk of suffering from lactose intolerance. This occurs because a full-term baby acquires the specialized cells lactase-secreting cells, in his or her digestive tract, late in the third trimester. 

Fortunately, thanks to food scientists, there are many substitutes for foods with lactose, and iterations of foods that are lactose-free. 

If you’re suffering from debilitating symptoms of lactose intolerance, we encourage you to speak with a licensed physician, who can provide tailored orientation and if necessary, treatment to help the symptoms quickly abate. 


In this brief guide, we’ve addressed the search query: “How long do lactose intolerance symptoms last?” Also, we’ve explored what lactose intolerance is, what lactose is, what alternatives there are for lactose intolerant patients to consume, and who may be at risk of developing lactose intolerance.


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