Even if you don’t think you’re among the 50 million kids and adults in the United States with allergies, you might be. If you get a stomach ache or feel tired after eating, you might be allergic to a certain food.
At Low Testosterone & Weight Loss Center, located in Allen, Texas, our expert team conducts allergy tests on the premises so that you can find out what’s triggering your symptoms and get relief. Here, our doctors give you a breakdown of why you might have food allergies as an adult, what kinds of foods can trigger them, and some of the most common symptoms.
How can you be allergic to food?
Your immune system is designed to target invaders, like bacteria and viruses, and eliminate them before they can create an infection in your body. However, if your immune system is overactive, it reacts to and attacks substances that would otherwise be considered benign, such as pollen, animal dander, and certain types of foods. When that substance enters your body, your immune system signals your cells to release an antibody called immunoglobulin E (IgE) to neutralize or kill the invader.
Once IgE has been “trained” to seek and attack an invader, it embarks on that mission every time the invader reaches your body. So, if you eat that triggering food again, the IgE antibodies go into attack mode, releasing various chemicals, including histamines. Histamines create the symptoms you associate with allergies, including coughing, itchy throat, and sneezing.
Though nobody’s quite sure why some people develop allergies and others don’t, allergies — including food allergies — tend to run in families. The symptoms they cause range from mild to severe and may vary in severity over time.
Do you have a food allergy?
If you have mild symptoms, you might not even be aware that you have a food allergy. Or, you could attribute whatever symptoms you do have to something else. You might not associate your symptoms with food, because they don’t always appear directly after eating.
Food allergy symptoms can take just minutes or up to six hours to manifest after a meal or snack with triggering foods. You might have a food allergy if you notice the following within a few hours after eating:
- Stomach cramps
- Shortness of breath
- Trouble swallowing
Food allergies can even cause severe symptoms, such as:
- Circulatory collapse
- Weakened pulse
- Skin that turns pale or blue
- Feeling dizzy
- Swollen tongue
A food allergy could even trigger anaphylaxis, which is a potentially life-threatening condition that can shut down all of your body’s systems, including your respiratory system. Some people who’ve been bitten by a lone-star tick develop an allergy to red meat that causes eczema, too.
Don’t ignore symptoms
Food is supposed to make you feel good and energized. If you’re eating the right kinds of foods, you’re supplying your cells with the nutrients they need so that they can function at peak capacity.
Feeling poorly after you eat, or experiencing symptoms like stomach aches or vomiting could be a sign of a food allergy. Foods that commonly trigger allergic reactions include:
- Milk and dairy
If you consume pollen in the form of fruits or vegetables, you could experience symptoms such as tickling or swelling in your oral soft tissues. You’re more likely to have a food allergy if you also suffer from hay fever.
Determining your food allergies
While you might be able to determine which foods are causing reactions by undertaking an elimination diet, that can be time-consuming and may not give you the full picture of your allergies. If you decide to undertake an elimination diet, you must avoid all of the foods that could potentially trigger an allergic response for at least a month. Then, once your symptoms resolve, you gradually add the foods back in — one at a time — and gauge your response.
Our providers test for food allergies at our office. They conduct skin tests and blood tests for multiple allergens in one session. Because the main treatment for food allergies is eliminating the triggering substances, knowing what they are quickly and easily helps you get your symptoms under control.
To find out if your favorite foods are the cause of your uncomfortable symptoms, contact us for allergy tests in Allen, Texas, by phone, or online.