Send to

Choose Destination

Clinical picture of hypolactasia and lactose intolerance.

Author information

University of Tartu, Estonia.


Selective adult-type hypolactasia, the main cause of primary malabsorption of lactose, shows considerable variation in terms of its symptoms, which mainly depend on the amount of milk consumption. The article discusses congenital lactase deficiency and familial lactose intolerance. Links between hypolactasia and non-specific abdominal complaints, coronary heart disease and cataract are presented. The decrease in lactase activity in the brush border of jejunal mucosa, associated with diseases of the mucosa or any other condition which damages the enterocytes, is discussed as a cause of secondary hypolactasia. It is shown that adult-type primary hypolactasia and selective lactose malabsorption represent a major problem in the everyday work of general practitioners, particularly in populations where hypolactasia is common. Therefore, the examination and treatment of non-selected patients with vague abdominal complaints is important in primary health care. As the need for calcium in humans is largely met by the intake of milk, the consumption of milk has to be in amounts that are tolerable for the individual.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center