Lactose Intolerance

Lactose intolerance genetic testing

A test to determine your ability to digest lactose is now available

If, after consuming milk or other dairy products, you experience gas, stomach pain or diarrhoea, you may be lactose intolerant.

You’re not alone. Three out of four people worldwide are affected by lactose intolerance to a variable extent.

There is now a genetic test to confirm if you can digest lactose, a sugar found in milk and other dairy products.

If you can’t, you may be lactose intolerant, and knowing this will allow you and your doctor to make informed decisions necessary for the management of your symptoms.

Download our patient brochure to discuss with your doctor if this test is right for you.

How could lactose be making me feel sick?

Milk and other dairy products contain a sugar called lactose. This sugar is broken down by a protein, an enzyme called lactase. In people who are lactose intolerant, lactase either does not work properly or is not produced in sufficient quantity to break down lactose. Lactose that is not broken down and absorbed by the body is converted into acids and flatulence in the large bowel causing the symptoms of lactose intolerance.

Who is most likely to be affected by lactose intolerance?

Many people, particularly those from Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Southern Europe, as well as in Indigenous Australians, produce less lactase after infancy. The lactase required to break down lactose had been produced during infancy when it was needed, and then stops being produced as the child matures. This is a normal process. People who continue to produce lactase throughout their lives typically have a genetic variation that tells the body to continue producing it.

How it works

The lactose intolerance genetic test looks for four genetic variations that control the production of the enzyme, lactase. If the variations are present (lactase persistence), then a lack of lactase is likely to be temporary or the symptoms are due to some other cause. If this genetic variation is absent, then it is unlikely that the person will produce much lactase after infancy and will become lactose intolerant. This information, together with other assessments, can help your doctor diagnose lactose intolerance.

This test is appropriate for children and adults of all ages.

The test is only available through your doctor.

Download our patient brochure to discuss with your doctor if this test is right for you.

Resources

Information for Doctors

Information for Patients

Test Details

*Note: Calcium is important for the health of your bones. Milk and other dairy foods are an important source of calcium. Do not remove these foods from your diet without seeking advice from your doctor or dietitian.