Diet and Nutrition

Is it Crohn's Disease or Lactose Intolerance?

Is it Crohn's Disease or Lactose Intolerance?

Key Takeaways

  • Lactase deficiency, otherwise called lactose intolerance, develops if a person is not able to create enough lactase enzymes in the small intestine
  • Several victims of lactose intolerance digest a small portion of lactose, but the amount relies on the quantity of lactase contained in their bodies
  • The Crohn’s disease may go into remission for weeks or even months without any visible symptoms

Lactose intolerance and Crohn’s disease share several similar symptoms. It’s possible to believe you are affected by one condition and yet possess the other. Crohn’s disease is not very common. Physicians could confuse its symptoms with those of lactose intolerance. Research suggests that victims of the Crohn’s disease are affected by lactose intolerance more so than other people. Being diagnosed with lactose intolerance does not necessarily mean you will be affected by its symptoms.

Crohn’s disease is a severe and persistent inflammatory bowels disease (IBD). If left untreated, it can lead to serious illnesses or disabilities. On the other hand, lactose intolerance can be easily cured. It is more of a nuisance than anything. To receive proper treatment, it’s very crucial that you know real difference between them so as to get the correct medication.

Lactose Intolerance

Lactase deficiency, otherwise called lactose intolerance, develops if a person is not able to create enough lactase enzymes in the small intestine. Lactase is responsible for digesting lactose, a sugar contained in dairy products.

The lactase enzyme splits down lactose into two simple sugars; galactose and glucose. These sugars are quickly absorbed by the small intestine into the blood stream. In case someone does not possess enough lactase, only a portion of the lactose will be digested. Undigested lactase then goes down into the small intestine then enters the colon where it is fermented by bacteria. Several victims of lactose intolerance digest a small portion of lactose, but the amount relies on the quantity of lactase contained in their bodies.

Opposing the common myth, lactose intolerance is not a food allergy.

The Key Differences Between Crohn's Disease and Lactose Intolerance

Just like lactose intolerance, persistent diarrhea and cramping are common with Crohn’s disease. Nevertheless, a victim of Crohn’s disease may see mucus and blood in his stool. Additional symptoms associated with the Crohn’s disease that are also found in lactose intolerance are unintentional weight loss, loss of appetite, fatigue, fever, and anemia.

Crohn’s disease may go into remission for weeks or even months without any visible symptoms. Lactose intolerance victims face these symptoms anytime they take dairy products.

Symptoms of Lactose Intolerance

When undigested lactose goes down the small intestine, it sucks water via osmosis.

The excess water causes diarrhea and cramps experienced by those with this condition.

More symptoms associated with lactose intolerance are:

The above symptoms stem from the colon during fermentation. When the lactose is been acted upon by the bacteria, it becomes acidic and this leads to the production of gas.

Considering the mentioned symptoms, anal burning may be caused by the acid too.

What Are the Risks Associated With Lactose Intolerance?

Many people start to drop their lactase enzyme levels as age; this makes them unable to digest foods that have lactose in them. This state is popular in people of African and Asian descent, more so than Caucasians. It’s also more common in Jewish people than non-Jewish. It’s more common for those with Crohn’s disease to be affected by lactose intolerance than those who don’t; it does not cause complications, though.

Let it be known that Crohn's disease does not harm those affected; discomfort to the person affected is also expected.

The lactase enzyme may be induced in some people. If a victim commonly exceeds the quantity of lactose the body can accommodate, the body will, in turn, react by producing more lactase.