Food intolerance is defined as the inability of the body to breakdown some foods making the individual to show some physical reaction towards the particular foods. It’s characterized by its inability to activate the immune system and usually delayed since the reaction can take from 30 minutes up to 48 hours after one has ingested the specific foods that he cannot tolerate. Mostly it occurs if one ingests a higher quantity of foods having triggering contents that are beyond the threshold sensitivity of the patient.
Its causes can be grouped broadly basing upon their mechanisms. They include:
- Lack or defects of certain digestive enzymes such as lactase deficiency which makes one unable to digest lactose. Also fructose intolerance which is hereditary occurs due to
- Chemical contents found in meals and drinks we ingest for example caffeine that is in coffee.
- Toxins that is naturally present in certain foods that led to gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea. Beans that have not been properly cooked contain aflatoxins which cause difficulty in food breakdown.
- Autoimmune Disorder such as celiac disease that causes gluten intolerance.
- Idiopathic causes which involve food intolerance that is caused by unknown elements.
The signs and symptoms of food intolerance include its effects on the skin such as rashes, eczema, angiodema, urticaria and dermatitis. The respiratory system is also affected and present with sinusitis, dry cough, irritation of the pharyngeal and wheeze. In the gastrointestinal system it can cause oral thrush, abdominal pain slow peristalsis movement making it hard for one to pass stool and bloating. IgG food intolerance symptoms are associated with pelvic inflammatory disease, hepatitis c infection, headache, running nose and infections in the ear, nose and throat.
Those at high risk of having food intolerance include individuals who have a family history of food intolerance and allergies. Women are also at a higher risk due to their hormonal imbalances since a lot of food chemicals mask hormones. It is not age specific since people of any age can be affected chemical environment exposure can also predispose one to the risk of having food intolerance.
Diagnosis of food intolerance can be challenging since it has similar signs and symptoms with food allergy although it can be made through thorough history taking from the patient to determine the duration the reaction took before occurring. Hydrogen breath tests can also be carried out to test lactose and fructose intolerance. Medically monitoring of exclusion of diet can help the practioner determine which kinds of foods the patient is allergic to and find the contents the foods share and do away with foods with high chemical content that is poorly tolerated. Another investigation that can be useful is ELISA test for IgG triggered immune response towards particular foods.
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