Food Intolerance – Condition

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Overview

Food intolerance is a medical condition in which an individual has difficulty digesting certain foods and foodstuffs. 

Food intolerance is a common occurrence in the general population. According to some estimates, the condition affects 15–20% of the population. Some of the most common food intolerances include lactose intolerance, soy intolerance, and meat intolerance.

Individuals who suffer from digestive disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome are more likely to develop food intolerance than the general population.

It is caused by a reaction of the digestive system instead of an immune system reaction to a specific food.

The phrase, “food sensitivity” is sometimes used in place of the term “food intolerance.” However, food sensitivity is not a recognized medical term. It can be interpreted in a number of different ways to describe conditions such as sulfite sensitivity and histamine sensitivity.

Causes

Food intolerances are not a result of the immune system reacting to a food. Tolerances to specific foods are caused by a deficiency in an enzyme required for their digestion, or by a reaction to additives or naturally occurring chemicals in the food. In some cases, people who suffer from food intolerances may be able to consume small amounts of the foods that cause them discomfort. People’s bodies, on the other hand, react when they consume too much. Many people who have lactose intolerance, for example, find that they can consume a small amount of milk with their meals, as well as yogurt and other lactose-free foods, without experiencing any negative side effects.

It is not always clear why someone has an intolerance to a particular food.

If your symptoms appear after consuming dairy products, you may have lactose intolerance. Milk, yogurt, and soft cheeses contain lactose, a natural sugar that cannot be digested by the human digestive system. Lactose intolerance is typically diagnosed by a doctor based on the symptoms you are experiencing and the medical history you have.

Symptoms

In most cases, when someone has a food intolerance, he/she will experience stomach discomfort shortly after consuming certain foods. Although the signs and symptoms differ from one person to another, they usually entail the digestive system. The proportion of food consumed by a person suffering from this condition has an effect on the severity of their symptoms.

Symptoms of food intolerance can manifest themselves over a period of time. The symptoms may appear several hours or days after a food has been consumed, and they may last for several hours or days after that.

People who have food intolerance frequently face the following signs and symptoms:

·         Itching and rashes on the skin

·         Abdominal pain

·         Bloating, constipation, or diarrhea

·         Irritable bowel syndrome

Bloating, constipation, diarrhea, sickness, and stomach pain are all symptoms of wheat intolerance in some people. It can be difficult to determine if you have food intolerance because the symptoms are similar to those of a variety of other medical conditions.

Diagnosis

There is no accurate, reliable, or widely accepted testing for food intolerances other than lactose intolerance and celiac disease. Exclusion diets, also known as elimination diets or diagnostic diets are the most effective diagnostic technique available to physicians.

A skin prick test or a blood test may be recommended by the doctor to rule out the possibility of a food allergy.

A skin prick test will be performed by a healthcare provider who will place a small amount of food on a person’s back or forearm and pierce the skin with a needle. The presence of an allergy is indicated by the presence of a cutaneous response.

Through the use of a blood test, it is possible to detect antibodies to immunoglobulin E (IgE). A high level could indicate an allergy.

There is no reliable testing for food intolerances at the present time. In contrast, some independently run laboratories have developed their own blood testing techniques that they claim can detect food intolerances and are only available at a small number of retail pharmacies.

Treatment

The most effective treatment is a long-term strategy for dealing with the problem at its source.

An exclusion diet is typically used as the first step in the treatment of food intolerances.

It may be beneficial for the individual to keep a food journal to see if their symptoms improve as a result of their diet. After that, the food is reintroduced, and any new reactions are recorded.

Individuals may need to repeat this monitoring process with multiple foods in order to determine which particular food is causing the problem.

It is possible to reintroduce a food without causing a reaction in some people. The food may have become tolerable to them, or a small amount of it may no longer be a source of discomfort for them.

As a result of the wide range of symptoms experienced by individuals with food intolerance, each case is likely to be distinct. There are some instances in which an underlying issue exacerbates the intolerance and requires medical attention.

Examine the labels of foods to determine which items should be avoided.

It is important to consult a doctor or a dietician before restricting or eliminating foods from your child’s diet. A restricted diet may have an adverse effect on your child’s growth and development, so consult with them first. Dairy milk, for example, is a good source of calcium, vitamin D, and protein, among other nutrients.

When to See a Doctor

When you notice any of the food intolerance symptoms, immediately consult a doctor. If your symptoms are rapidly worsening, or if you are having difficulty breathing, you should seek medical attention right away. In case you or your child does not respond to any elimination diets then you need to see a doctor for immediate diagnosis and treatment.


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