Experiencing unpleasant symptoms after consuming certain foods could be due to an intolerance. Food intolerance is defined as a sensitivity to something in a food that causes the gastrointestinal system to become irritated and react. This condition is real and very common.
Let’s discuss why you need to see a doctor if you experience a negative reaction after consuming food.
Symptoms of food intolerance include brain fog, stomach pain, gas, heartburn, diarrhea, nausea, headaches, and vomiting. You are intolerant to something found in the food because you likely lack the enzymes needed to break it down. Perhaps the most well-known example of food intolerance is lactose intolerance. If you are lactose intolerant, you produce little to no lactase, an enzyme needed to break down lactose, a sugar found in dairy products. Therefore, you are unable to digest milk.
Many Americans are unable to break down gluten, which is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. Gluten helps foods hold their shapes, such as breads, baked goods, pasta, and cereals. Gluten intolerance is caused by the inability of the body to break down any of the protein.
When To See a Doctor
While food intolerance is not life-threatening, and hardly ever progresses into a medical emergency, you still want to have your symptoms evaluated by a doctor.
First, you may choose to avoid consuming foods that trigger symptoms. However, foods that cause sensitivity can be packed with vitamins and minerals, which are necessary to a healthy diet. With a personalized treatment plan, you could switch out the foods that you are unable to tolerate (or figure out a portion that is safe to consume) with other foods to avoid unpleasant symptoms while still ensuring you get all the nutrients your body needs to remain healthy.
Another reason why you should see a doctor is for a clinical diagnosis. Symptoms of food intolerance are similar to symptoms of a food allergy. Food allergies can cause severe, potentially life-threatening reactions, if not now then possibly in the future. Getting diagnosed by a doctor means you receive proper treatment for your condition. A physician can perform tests to rule out food allergies. If you do this yourself using home testing kits, the results could be misleading, and you could miss out on the right treatment. Leave allergy testing to the medical professionals. A doctor can test for food allergies and pinpoint what exactly you are allergic or sensitive to.
Food Allergy Testing in Downers Grove, Elmhurst, Naperville, and Plainfield, Illinois
If eating certain foods brings you pain and discomfort, have our board-certified allergy and immunology physicians at Oak Brook Allergists evaluate your symptoms and run some tests to determine if what you have is a food allergy or food intolerance. You deserve to know what you have that is causing unpleasant symptoms and have an action plan to avoid complications. That way, you can better advocate for your health.