Abdominal pain associated with lactose ingestion in children with lactose intolerance

Clin Pediatr (Phila). 2003 May;42(4):341-5. doi: 10.1177/000992280304200406.


The causal relationship between lactose ingestion and gastrointestinal symptoms is questionable. The aim of this study was to assess symptoms associated with milk ingestion in children with lactose maldigestion. Thirty children (11 males) age 3 to 17 years with lactose maldigestion were studied. In a double-blind, crossover design, subjects ingested 240 mL daily of either lactose-hydrolyzed or lactose-containing milk for 14 days. Diaries were kept daily that recorded diet, medication use, and symptoms. There was a significant increase in abdominal pain experienced by study participants during the lactose ingestion period when compared to the lactose-free period. We conclude that ingestion of 12 g of lactose daily is associated with increased abdominal pain in susceptible children with lactose maldigestion. A trial of dietary lactose restriction may be beneficial in reducing abdominal pain in children with lactose maldigestion.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Pain / classification
  • Abdominal Pain / etiology*
  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lactose / adverse effects
  • Lactose Intolerance / complications*
  • Lactose Intolerance / diagnosis
  • Lactose Intolerance / diet therapy
  • Male
  • Severity of Illness Index


  • Lactose