Although not life-threatening compared to specific allergies, food sensitivities (not to be confused with food intolerance) can significantly affect a person’s quality of life. Compared to food allergies, not much is known yet about food sensitivities other than the fact that they result from an immune reaction sparked by certain foods for different people. A growing body of evidence suggests that chemical imbalances in the gut microbiome could cause food sensitivity. The good news is that this condition can be treated or managed with the help of experts like those at Pro Health Center.
The first step to effectively treating and managing food sensitivity is by confirming that you have the condition and starting the journey to identify its causes or triggers. Treatments vary depending on the causes and severity. It involves steps that seek to correct various suspected gut imbalances to allow you to enjoy a particular food type without worries. Food sensitivity experts work closely with their patients by using elimination diets to identify problematic foods and the best treatment option.
Common Symptoms of Food Sensitivity
Having definitive proof of a food sensitivity case can be tricky since it shares common symptoms with food intolerance and food allergies. However, some signs bring out essential differences that can be used to tell them apart. Worried that you may have a case of food sensitivity? It’s recommended that you talk to your doctor to confirm your suspicions and weigh your treatment options. Food sensitivity symptoms are caused by the immune system’s reaction and may include;
- Regular headaches
- Gastric distress
- Stomach pain
- Feeling bloated
- Chronic muscle and joint pain
- Brain fog
Depending on a particular type of food and the extent of the immune response, the symptoms above may range from mild to debilitating. If you’ve noticed these symptoms regularly and are unsure about their causes, you might have a food sensitivity problem. Most cases of food sensitivity go undiagnosed due to the symptoms not appearing immediately. It can take a few days to weeks for symptoms to show, making it hard for someone to know the cause.
Food Sensitivity Vs. Allergy. Telling the Difference
While both are similar on many fronts, it’s not correct to say you have a food allergy problem when you have a food sensitivity. There are stark differences between the two on how the symptoms manifest and their severity. For traditional food allergies, symptoms mostly happen rapidly (within minutes or a few hours after consuming the allergic food) and can escalate fast. Food allergy symptoms may include swelling, trouble breathing, wheezing, hives, intense vomiting, difficulty swallowing, and stomach pain. Food allergies can be life-threatening at worst, and immediate medical attention may be required in some instances.
On the other hand, people with food sensitivity mainly experience slow symptoms, which can take a few hours to weeks before manifesting. This makes food sensitivity very hard to diagnose and find out the food responsible for some people. The most popular method to identify food sensitivity problems is through an elimination diet, where one’s diet is monitored closely for a while. The good thing about food sensitivities is that, unlike food allergies, they are not life-threatening and can be easily managed. The condition can also go away with time due to the evolving nature of the gut microbiome.
What Elimination Diet Involves
One of the most effective ways to treat allergies and food sensitivity problems is using an elimination diet. This means phasing off certain food types you suspect are causing the sensitivity reaction and monitoring if the symptoms disappear. There are various approaches to elimination diets, and it is often used in conjunction with various tests, including a patient’s health records. The elimination diet comprises two phases; elimination and reintroduction. The reintroduction period involves carefully bringing back the food you had eliminated into your diet while watching for symptoms. The food should be reintroduced individually. If you find no symptoms during the reintroduction period, you can assume the particular food to be safe and move on to the next.
Any food causing food sensitivity symptoms is considered a trigger and should be removed from your diet. However, it’s highly recommended that you involve your physician or dietician before trying out the process. This is because an elimination diet can cause nutritional deficiencies, especially when several food types are involved, and expert advice is a great way to counter this. When identifying foods that cause allergic reactions, elimination diets can be pretty risky as they can lead to anaphylaxis, especially in children. Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction that can occur within minutes of being exposed to a particular allergen and is potentially life-threatening. This is because the body can become extra sensitive to a specific allergen after staying away from it. This is another reason not to carry out an elimination diet without the guidance of an expert medical practitioner or dietician.
Talk to your doctor if you observe the symptoms mentioned above so you can rule out foo sensitivity or get relevant professional advice.