Types of Lactose Intolerance

There are four main types of lactose intolerance:

  • Primary lactose intolerance – caused by a natural reduction in lactase production with age.
  • Secondary Lactose Intolerance – caused by illness, injury or surgery to the small intestine which affects lactase production. Treating the underlying condition is usually the best course of action.
  • Congenital lactose intolerance – this is an inherited condition that runs through families. It is an autosomal recessive trait; so both parents must be carriers of the faulty form of the gene for the child to be affected.
  • Familial lactose intolerance - this is found in newborn babies. The body is able to produce enough lactase enzyme, but it doesn’t work properly and can’t be used to digest lactose. Like congenital lactose intolerance, this type of lactose intolerance is genetic and passed from generation to generation via autosomal recessive inheritance. It usually only develops after the age of 4.

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