Lactose is a sugar found in dairy products like milk, cheese and yogurt. People who are lactose intolerant cannot properly digest the sugar, which leads to abdominal pain, excessive gas and explosive bowel movements. Because the sugar is not broken down in the small intestine as it normally would be, it passes in its whole form to the colon. The colon’s attempt to breakdown the lactose leads to the above mentioned symptoms.
Avoiding or reducing consumption of foods containing lactose is the best treatment for lactose intolerance. If a person knows they may be eating a food that has lactose, he or she can take a non-prescription lactase supplement at meal time to reduce symptoms.