Food Intolerance

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What are food intolerances?

Food intolerance is characterized by difficulty in digesting particular foods. Food contains proteins, vitamins, carbohydrates, fats, and natural chemicals that add to its flavor and smell. Some of these can trigger symptoms of food intolerance. Food intolerance differs from a food allergy, where even a small amount of allergic food can cause a mild to severe immune response. Food intolerance usually develops gradually and may occur when you consume too much of a particular food, too often. To learn more about food intolerances and how they can affect your GI tract, contact GI Alliance to speak to a skilled gastroenterologist.

What are the symptoms and causes of food intolerances?

A number of symptoms may result from food intolerances. Some of the most common include:

  • Fatigue
  • Dark circles under the eyes
  • Joint pain
  • Night sweats
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Bloating
  • An irritable bowel
  • Skin-related symptoms (such as rashes and eczema)

Food intolerance is specific to you and is caused by foods that are normally safe for a majority of others. Among the most common causes are:

  • Lack of enzymes specific for the breakdown of certain foods
  • Certain naturally occurring chemicals such as caffeine
  • Some foods such as kidney beans or chickpeas that have a toxic effect when undercooked
  • Food containing histamines (such as fish that has been stored poorly)
  • Salicylates in certain fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices
  • Wide variety of artificial additives, preservatives, and coloring agents used in processed foods

How are food intolerances treated?

The pattern and type of symptoms help to distinguish food intolerance and differentiates it from allergic reactions. Keeping an accurate record of your food intake and resulting symptoms helps to identify the foods that may cause these reactions. Once the triggering food is determined, you are advised to temporarily eliminate it from your diet under controlled conditions. Our GI Alliance gastroenterologists will then observe you for improvement or relief from symptoms. Following this, the trigger is reintroduced into your diet to confirm the diagnosis. This is carried out under the supervision of a dietitian who will substitute the eliminated food with similar food, ensuring that nutrition is maintained.

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A gastroenterologist for help with food intolerances

If you have been experiencing troubling symptoms that make you suspect you might have a food intolerance, then you may benefit from a partnership with a local gastroenterologist. You can find a gastroenterologist near you by contacting the nation's largest physician-led network of GI specialists, GI Alliance. Our doctors can help you identify and eliminate your trigger foods so that you can enjoy life again. To learn more about food intolerances and how they can be treated, contact GI Alliance.

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