One-third of children with lactose intolerance managed to achieve a regular diet at the three-year follow-up point

Anat Yerushalmy-Feler, Hagai Soback, Ronit Lubetzky, Amir Ben-Tov, Margalit Dali-Levy, Tut Galai, Shlomi Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim: This study described outcomes following treatment for lactose intolerance, which is common in children. Methods: The medical records of children aged 6–18 years who underwent lactose hydrogen breath testing at Dana-Dwek Children's Hospital, Tel Aviv, Israel, from August 2012 to August 2014 were analysed. We compared 154 children with gastrointestinal symptoms and positive lactose hydrogen breath tests to 49 children with negative test results. Results: Of the 154 children in the study group, 89 (57.8%) were advised to follow a lactose-restricted diet, 32 (20.8%) were advised to avoid lactose completely, 18 (11.7%) were instructed to use substitute enzymes, and 15 (9.7%) did not receive specific recommendations. Only 11 patients (7.1%) received recommendations to add calcium-rich foods or calcium supplements to their diet. Lactose reintroduction was attempted in 119 of 154 patients (77.3%), and 65 of 154 (42.2%) experienced clinical relapses. At the final follow-up of 3.3 years, 62.3% of the study children were still observing a restricted diet. Older children and those who were symptomatic during lactose hydrogen breath testing were more likely to be on a prolonged restricted diet. Conclusion: Our long-term follow-up of lactose-intolerant children showed that only a third were able to achieve a regular diet.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1389-1394
Number of pages6
JournalActa Paediatrica, International Journal of Paediatrics
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2018


  • Breath test
  • Children
  • Lactose
  • Lactose intolerance
  • Maldigestion


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