Food Sensitivity vs Allergy vs Intolerance

Understand the Differences Between Uncomfortable Symptoms Following Meals


Food Sensitivity vs Allergy vs Intolerance

As science progresses, more people are being diagnosed with food sensitivities to ingredients like gluten and dairy than ever before. A Los Angeles food allergy doctor can administer a variety of tests to detect food sensitivities, food intolerance, and food allergies so that you can know the right ingredients to watch out for when grocery shopping or to ask your server about when dining out. Food sensitivity testing in Los Angeles is a great way to become more comfortable in public situations that involve eating.

If you frequently experience bloating, diarrhea, or skin reactions following meals, then it’s possible that you may have an intolerance or sensitivity to something you’re eating. If it’s a food allergy, these symptoms won’t be limited to just your digestive system, and your symptoms should be treated right away.

A food intolerance or sensitivity may exhibit the same symptoms as an allergy, so it’s important to understand the different symptoms and causes underlying each of them.

Food Allergy

A true food allergy causes the immune system to react and affects numerous organs in the body. Because it triggers multiple organ reactions, a food allergy has a wider range of symptoms than intolerance and sensitivity. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms immediately after eating, then you may be having an allergic reaction:

  • Wheezing, tightness in the chest, or shortness of breath
  • Raised, itchy, red rash (also known as hives)
  • Swollen lips, tongue, eyes, or face
  • Sneezing
  • Itchy, red, watering eyes

In rare cases, a severe allergy can make you go into anaphylactic shock, which is marked by the following:

  • Swelling of the throat and mouth
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Dizziness
  • Losing consciousness

If you experience any of these symptoms, call 911 right away.

Doctors test for allergies using a scratch test (also known as skin test). The doctor will put a tiny bit of an allergen on the skin to see if the area swells up. If the skin becomes raised, red, and itchy, then you likely are allergic to that substance.

An allergic reaction can be severe and even life-threatening, so it’s a matter that should be taken seriously. If your ENT doctor in Los Angeles diagnoses you with a food allergy, it’s important to avoid that food entirely.

Food Sensitivity

Food sensitivities are becoming increasingly common, as about 20% of the global population has some sort of sensitivity to a certain food. A food sensitivity is similar to a food allergy in that it produces an immune response.

Since it’s fueled by an immune response, sensitivity can affect any organ system in the body, and these symptoms can happen shortly after eating or can even take several days for symptoms to show. The delay in symptoms is part of what makes food sensitivities so hard to diagnose. Common symptoms include:

  • Stomach pain or bloating
  • Fatigue
  • Rashes
  • Brain fog

A common and inexpensive form of food sensitivity testing Los Angeles residents use is keeping a food diary. By having a written log of your diet, you may see a common food that precedes your stomach pains. The elimination diet can be combined with a food log to pinpoint your triggers. Start by eliminating common culprits like dairy and gluten for two weeks up to a month, then slowly incorporate them one at a time back into your diet while monitoring your system for changes. This process takes time, but it’s important to stick to it to make it effective.

Food sensitivities may go away with time since our bodies are a microbiome that constantly changes. Careful observation is the best way to manage sensitivity. This is the most mild form of food reaction, and people with sensitivities can usually still eat these foods in moderation.

Food Intolerance

Food intolerance is marked by the body’s inability to process or digest certain foods. Food intolerance is usually limited to the digestive system, but it can also show itself through respiratory symptoms. The symptoms of food intolerance are usually the same as food sensitivity, but intolerance is more serious than sensitivity. The most common foods that people are intolerant to are dairy and gluten.

You may have heard of lactose intolerance, which is marked by extreme reactions to ingesting milk and cheese. People with lactose intolerance can use a lactose-tolerance test, lactose breath test, or stool PH test as their form of food intolerance testing Los Angeles.

Gluten intolerance is referred to as Celiac disease, an autoimmune condition marked by feeling ill following the ingestion of gluten. Celiac disease is not a true allergy, but prolonged and continuous ingestion can cause diarrhea, weight loss, and malnutrition.

Food intolerance testing Los Angeles can be done at a doctor’s office or by the elimination diet. If you need an OTC medication to help you with your intolerance, you should consult your doctor.

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