Lactose Intolerance Specialists

Illinois Gastroenterology Group -  - Gastroenterology

Illinois Gastroenterology Group

Gastroenterology located in Gurnee, Evanston, Skokie, Libertyville, Lindenhurst, Highland Park, & Lincoln Park, Chicago, IL

f you suffer from stomach pains or other digestive issues every time you consume dairy, you may have lactose intolerance. Lactose intolerance affects over 65% of the world’s adults and, in certain communities of East Asian descent, more than 90% of the population. The board-certified specialists at Illinois Gastroenterology Group in Gurnee, Evanston, Skokie, Libertyville, Lindenhurst, Highland Park, & Lincoln Park, Chicago, Illinois, offer various treatments to help you manage symptoms brought on by this condition. To learn more, call or use the online booking tool to make an appointment today.

Lactose Intolerance Q & A

What is Lactose Intolerance?

Lactose intolerance is a condition in which your body is unable to digest the sugar called lactose, which is found in milk and other dairy products. 

Your small intestine produces an enzyme called lactase which your body uses to digest lactose. If your small intestine is unable to produce this enzyme or makes too little of it, your body is unable to digest the lactose in milk, and it moves into your colon instead of being absorbed into your bloodstream. This leads to indigestion and other symptoms of lactose intolerance.

What are the Symptoms of Lactose Intolerance?

Lactose intolerance can lead to a number of symptoms that include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach pains
  • Bloating
  • Gas


The severity of these symptoms varies from patient to patient, depending on your level of intolerance.

What Causes Lactose Intolerance?

Lactose intolerance happens when your body doesn’t produce any or enough of the enzyme lactase, to digest the lactose found in milk. For many patients, low or nonexistent levels of lactase are due to inherited genes. 

Sometimes, a patient’s small intestine decreases lactase production because of an illness like Crohn’s disease, an injury, or surgery. 

If you have a known genetic predisposition, the following factors can make you more prone to lactose intolerance.

  • Age: Lactose intolerance is more common in adults as lactase production normally decreases as you get older.
  • Ethnicity: Lactose intolerance disproportionately affects African, Asian, Hispanic, and American Indian people.
  • Premature Birth: Infants develop lactase-producing enzymes during the third trimester, so if they’re born premature, their small intestines don’t have the specialized cells needed to produce the enzyme and, as a result, are lactose intolerant.
  • Disease: Diseases like celiac disease or Crohn’s disease affect the small intestine and its ability to produce lactase.
  • Certain Cancer Treatments: Radiation therapy for cancer can result in complications with your small intestine and its ability to produce lactase.


If you notice symptoms that suggest you have lactose intolerance, Illinois Gastroenterology Group can help.

How Do You Treat Lactose Intolerance?

There is no known cure for lactose intolerance, but the experts at Illinois Gastroenterology Group can help you manage your symptoms. Based on how severe your symptoms are, your specialist may suggest that you:

  • Avoid consuming dairy products
  • Limit your intake of dairy products
  • Consume only lactose-reduced dairy products
  • Use supplements to help break down lactose 


If your symptoms are very severe, your doctor can recommend over-the-counter medication to relieve uncomfortable symptoms like nausea and diarrhea. 

If you suffer from indigestion every time you consume dairy, call or use the online booking tool to make an appointment at Illinois Gastroenterology Group for lactose intolerance treatment.