The experts at all three locations of Apex Medical Center understand how uncomfortable simply eating can make some people. If you have gastrointestinal symptoms often, you may have a food intolerance or even an unidentified allergy. Your gastrointestinal health can have an enormous impact on your life, and we’re here to help you achieve and maintain as healthy a digestive tract as possible.
The difference between intolerance and allergy
Both food allergies and food intolerances can make you feel uncomfortable, and some of the symptoms overlap. However, allergies can be life-threatening, whereas intolerances are not. A recent study found that just over 10% of adults in the US have food allergies, but that almost 20% think that they do, suggesting many people have food intolerances.
Because food allergies can be life threatening, it’s important that you get tested if you believe you’re allergic to a food or foods. You may need to be prescribed emergency medication.
Other conditions that can cause gastrointestinal symptoms include, among others:
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Foodborne illnesses
- Crohen’s disease
Understanding the cause of your problems is one of the first steps in eliminating them!
Keep a record
Once you’ve ruled out a food allergy or an underlying medical condition, the next step is keeping a detailed record of everything you eat and your symptoms. It can take as long as several days after consuming a food for you to show symptoms, so you’ll need to keep this record for at least a couple of weeks, and pay attention to any patterns that emerge over that time.
If you have symptoms frequently, pay particular attention to foods you eat often. It may take some careful detective work, but record-keeping helps many people identify the foods that bother them.
After you’ve kept a record and have some idea what foods might be problematic, it’s time to start eliminating them. For example, if you’ve noticed problems every time you eat cheese, you might begin by eliminating dairy.
You should also not drink during the elimination phase, because alcohol disrupts your gut and you won’t get a clear understanding of what’s going on. You may need to also stop consuming caffeine.
Stop eating the suspected food or food group for about two weeks and note how you feel. Then begin adding it back in, slowly. If your symptoms disappear then return, you’ve found an intolerance.
Food intolerances aren’t life threatening, but they can certainly make life miserable. You don’t have to live with the discomfort. Schedule an appointment at Apex Medical Center today, and let us help you improve your gastrointestinal health!