Could Food Allergies Be Causing Your Heartburn?
There are six food groups that have the potential to create a variety of problems for people. These common allergenic foods include milk, soy, eggs, wheat, peanuts/tree nuts and shellfish/fish. There are a variety of reactions to these foods, but heartburn and difficulty in swallowing are two very common ones in adults. Children are not the only ones who suffer with food allergies. We now know that food allergens play a major causative role in the majority of adults, especially those who suffer EoE, a kind of inflammation of the esophagus.
Given the poor sensitivity of skin prick testing to determine food allergies, a simpler, but possibly more successful way of determining whether or not you suffer from a specific food intolerance has been suggested. By eliminating the common allergenic foods from the diet and then systematically reintroducing them, it becomes fairly easy to identify the food triggers that result in heartburn, chest pain and difficulty in swallowing. The reactions to each reintroduced food into a patient's diet helps to identify whether or not there is a food antigen at work. Generally speaking, studies suggest that recurrence of symptoms from a reintroduced trigger food takes place within five days or less.
Food allergies and heartburn may very well go hand in hand, but food allergies also are responsible for a host of other problems. Besides the food elimination test, a blood test may also be able to help determine if you have a food allergy. It's pretty common to have a reaction to a particular food, but in most cases it's an intolerance rather than a true allergy.
- Food allergies tend to come on suddenly, happens every time you ingest the food and in some cases can be life threatening.
- Food intolerance on the other hand, tends to come on gradually, may be less noticeable if you eat smaller amounts of the offending food and isn't life threatening.
- When food is not easily tolerated, your body can't properly digest it. You could then suffer from heartburn, gas, and bloating. The most common food intolerance is to lactose.
- Most food allergies require that you stop eating the food altogether. Whereas intolerance may be uncomfortable, but sometimes just cutting back on the food in question could be enough.
There are numerous causes of heartburn. Your doctor needs to be involved in determining what is causing your heartburn and how best to treat it. Sometimes lifestyle changes, like avoiding certain foods, is enough. However, if you are experiencing frequent heartburn, you could be suffering from acid reflux or GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). At that point, appropriate medications may be required.
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