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How long does lactose intolerance last in an infant?

Q: My 11 months old son is suffering from lactose intolerance since last eight months. Whenever any animal milk or mother's milk is given to him, he suffers fron loose motions. The colour of his stool is green since last eight months. When he was around 4 months old he suffered from E. coli (as found on stool culture). Right now he is given PROSOYAL (nowadays not available) and Zerolac milk (since last seven months) and some home made dal and rice etc. My question is for how long has he to be given lactose free milk (and milk containing sweets things prohibited)? Can he be given fruits?

A:Chronic diarrhoea in infancy can be due to various causes. Primary lactose intolerance, in which the baby is sensitive to even breast milk is very rare. What is more likely is secondary lactose intolerance which is a transient condition and may follow any acute diarrhoeal illness for some time. Fruits and other foods are not to be stopped in such a situation. Is your wife still lactating? In that situation breast milk may be re-introduced and stool pattern watched. Otherwise also, semisolids can be introduced. A gradual re-introduction of top milk may be made in small amount and response observed. The quantity may be gradually increased then. Milk may also be given in the form of semi-solids like suji-kheer, dalia etc. Maintenance of hygiene is of utmost importance as any infection can again lead to diarrhoea which may be difficult to distinguish from milk intolerance. However, if the diarrhoea recurs, a consultation and review with a pediatric gastroenterologist is indicated.

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