One of the most common presenting complaints as a digestive specialist is food intolerance's. With so many more people experiencing issues with the foods that they consume seeking help for issues like this is common.
However what is the difference between a food allergy and a food intolerance?
An allergy to a food gives rise to symptoms very quickly, generally within minutes of eating or even touching the food. The symptoms are often severe, and may even be life-threatening. The kinds of symptoms that might appear include asthma, vomiting, diarrhoea, eczema, urticaria (hives), rhinorrheaa (nasal drip), angio-oedema (swelling of areas of the skin) and in extreme cases, anaphylactic shock (total collapse).
Food intolerance is much more common than food allergy. The range of symptoms which can be induced by food intolerance is very similar to those caused by food allergy, so that on initial presentation, it can be difficult to differentiate between the two conditions. However, food intolerance may also lead to more diffuse symptoms such as drowsiness, fatigue, irritability, headache and muscular aches and pains.
So if you are finding that you are having issues with foods that you seemed to be okay with in the past, but now have issues with them the sooner you identify and resolve these issues the better your health will be in the long run.