Food allergies and intolerances can aggravate the symptoms and, in some cases, even cause acid reflux. If your acid reflux does not respond well to treatment it may be time to consider if an allergy or intolerance could be playing a role in the problem.
A food allergy occurs when the body’s immune system launches an abnormal attack against the offending food item. Some of the most common allergic foods are: milk, egg, peanut, tree nut, fish, shellfish, soy and wheat. These “top eight” foods account for 90% of all food allergic reactions according to The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network.
Most symptoms of food allergies occur with in a few minutes to an hour of eating the food. Symptoms can include tingling in the mouth, swelling of the throat, difficulty breathing, abdominal pain, cramping, vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, eczema, hives and asthma attacks. Severe food allergies can progress into a rapid drop in blood pressure or anaphylaxis.
Food intolerances often share similar GI symptoms to food allergies but they do not involve an immune system response to the food item. One of the most common examples of food intolerance is lactose intolerance. In lactose intolerance a person is unable to digest diary because they are missing the enzyme lactase which is needed to digest lactose, a sugar found in dairy products.
If you suspect that a food allergy or intolerance might be aggravating your acid reflux you need to discuss the problem with your doctor. Taking a food journal noting the foods eaten and symptoms to your doctors visit can help your doctor determine which foods might be contributing to the problem. There are several tests available for food allergies. Some include blood testing, skin prick testing, elimination diets and food challenges. All of these need to be done under a doctor’s care.
With a proper diagnosis and avid label reading food allergies and intolerances can be well controlled. Both of which can lessen any related acid reflux symptoms which may be caused by these problems.
Read another expert post on food allergy and acid reflux by clicking here.
Jennifer Rackley is a nutritionist and mother of three girls. Two of her children have dealt with acid reflux disease, food allergies, migraines, and asthma. She has a Bachelor of Science in dietetics from Harding University and has done graduate work in public health and nutrition through Eastern Kentucky University. In addition to writing for HealthCentral, she does patient consults and serves on the Board of Directors for the Pediatric Adolescent Gastroesophageal Reflux Association.