Stomach pain, diarrhea, constipation? All of these could be signs of a food sensitivity. The hardest part is learning which foods are causing the problem. The main culprits are: wheat (gluten), corn, dairy/milk, soy, and eggs.

If you consume all or any of these foods daily, then the only real way for you to determine which one is causing the problem is to do an elimination diet. This type of diet requires you to remove foods from your diet that are likely causing your symptoms, then reintroduce these foods, one at a time, back into your diet in an effort to identify the main cause of your problems. However, seeing a doctor to confirm your findings is recommended. A gastroenterologist  can diagnose a potential food allergy that may require advanced treatment or medication to prevent worsening reactions.

Facts About Food Sensitivities

  • Food sensitivity is more prevalent in women than men
  • Children are more likely to suffer from food additive sensitivities than adults
  • Individuals who often experience hypersensitivity reactions to allergens are more likely to see adverse reactions to food which often exacerbates their existing condition

Food Allergy

Food sensitivities are different from food allergies. These food allergies occur when the immune system has an abnormal response to food. The reactions can be mild to severe, but may include itchiness, swelling of the tongue, vomiting, hives, trouble breathing, and/or low blood pressure. These signs usually start showing within minutes to several hours.

With food allergies an elimination diet is generally not necessary because most people have an observable allergic reaction after consumption. However, in some cases the reaction may not be obvious, as with a gluten allergy. A doctor, like a gastroenterologist, can perform a blood test for indications of a food allergy.  Under the care of qualified specialist, you can receive treatments and medications to help manage the condition.

Facts About Food Allergies

  • 4-8% of people have at least one food allergy
  • They are more common in children than adults
  • Male children may appear to be more commonly affected than females

Tips for Managing a Food Allergy or Food Sensitivity

  • Always read labels
  • Take care when cooking
  • Dine out defensively
  • Formulate an action plan in case you were to ever accidentally encounter an allergen
  • Wear a medical bracelet (for more severe cases)
  • ALWAYS carry your medication (ideally in two doses)

Given these points, it can be scary dealing with food allergies and sensitivities. The effects of reactions range anywhere from bothersome (food sensitivity) to potentially deadly (food allergy). At this time, there is no cure for food allergies. People with food allergies need to be vigilant in avoiding trigger foods. In conclusion, it is possible to manage, but talk to a gastroenterologist about treatment options to ensure you stay healthy.

If you have any further questions, or think you may have a food sensitivity or allergy, schedule an appointment  with the expert gastroenterologists of San Antonio Gastroenterology Associates.