Is your child lactose intolerant?

By on August 9, 2014

My boy loves to eat ice cream but his stomach aches every time I give him a serving.  Is there any possible cure for lactose intolerance?


There is no cure for lactose intolerance and the recommended way to manage this condition is to limit intake of foods that contain lactose.The severity of intolerance varies, so some people are able to consume consume limited amounts of lactose containing foods without symptoms. Very sensitive people may have problems even with small amounts of lactose. Each individual will need to experiment to some degree to get a feel for how much they can tolerate, if at all. Lactose-free products or use of supplements that contain lactase (the enzyme that breaks down lactose) are other options (e.g. LactAid®). Unfortunately (surprise, surprise), such products are difficult to find in Japan, which is surprising, as Asian populations are generally felt to have high rates of lactose intolerance. A lactose-free milk product is available (“Accadi” from Snow Brand), but there are almost no other products on the market. A prescription powder enzyme (Galantase) is available for use in infants, but there is no equivalent product for adults.
A true allergy to ice cream itself would be rare, aside from allergies to specific ingredients such as nuts or fruits in the ice cream. For those that are lactose intolerant, ice cream is typically a problem. Lactose-free ice cream is available in some countries, but there are no such products in Japan at this time. The only option is to avoid ice cream and eat other items such as sorbets, shaved ice, or fresh fruits.

About Dr. Joe Kurosu

Joe Kurosu, M.D., is director of Primary Care Tokyo, a solo practice in Shimokitazawa, Tokyo. He is an American graduate of Yale Medical School and licensed in Japan and the United States. His clinic provides a range of primary care services for the pediatric and adult patient, including immunizations, check-ups, acute & chronic disease management, and minor surgical procedures. Dr. Kurosu has experience in caring for both the expatriate and local communities in Japanese or English. Japanese National Health Insurance is accepted. 
Tel 03-5432-7177.