Food intolerances can create a great deal of physical discomfort for those who are affected by them. A food intolerance is defined as a sensitivity to certain foods which, if ingested, can cause the person to experience digestive symptoms, such as gas, bloating, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. Some people may also experience skin itching.
A food intolerance can develop anytime, including later on in life – suddenly you are unable to tolerate foods that you used to enjoy, and they now irritate your digestive tract. Fortunately, food intolerances are almost never life-threatening, and the symptoms tend to come on as a delayed reaction.
Unlike a food allergy, which is an immunological response, food intolerance is a purely digestive issue. It is believed to be due to a slowing down of the digestive process, which becomes more common as we get older.
Food Intolerances Many People Experience
The most common food intolerances are caused by dairy, eggs, and bread:
Dairy and Lactose Intolerance
The lactose in dairy products may cause digestive issues in people who do not produce enough lactase to break down the lactose. The high frequency of lactose intolerance among people explains the preponderance of lactose-free milk products in grocery stores. Approximately 30 million Americans will have some degree of lactose intolerance by the time they reach the age of 20, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Many people are unable to digest the protein found in egg white or the yolk. There are many food products that contain eggs, such as pasta, mayonnaise, baked goods, and sauces.
Bread and Gluten Intolerance
People who have digestive issues after eating bread products are usually sensitive to gluten, which is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. Eliminating gluten from your diet is now easier than ever before, because food labels indicate whether the product contains gluten or is gluten-free.
Is It Food Intolerance or Food Allergy?
Some of the symptoms of a food intolerance and a food allergy are similar, so it can be difficult to determine whether what you have is an intolerance or an allergy. Food allergies can be life-threatening, and many people have severe food allergies to peanuts. This occurs when a person’s immune system misinterprets the food as a foreign invader and creates an allergic response.
An allergist can test you to see whether you have a food allergy. They can also diagnose a food intolerance through the use of a food diary and the elimination diet. It is important that you see an allergist if you experience troubling symptoms after eating certain foods.
Allergist in Will County and DuPage County, IL
At Oak Brook Allergists, our specialists can diagnose your condition and determine whether it’s a food intolerance or a food allergy. The allergist can also determine what exactly is causing the reaction, because it may not be what you thought.
To schedule a consultation with a top allergist in Northeast Illinois, call us today at (630) 574-0460 or request an appointment online now. We look forward to helping you take control of your food intolerances so you can enjoy everything you eat once again.