A Food intolerance or Food intolerance is usually not immediately perceived as such by those affected. If you suffer from diarrhea, nausea, headache or other symptoms, these are not assigned to an illness, but to lifestyle. If the symptoms accumulate and occur in connection with food, a food intolerance should not be ruled out as the cause.
What is a food intolerance?The symptoms of the various food intolerances are similar, but those affected often do not attribute them to an illness. They appear rather commonplace and those affected have mostly got used to living with them.
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At a Food intolerance or. Food intolerance it is an intolerance reaction to food. The consumption of certain foods, more precisely their ingredients, triggers complaints, which are expressed in various reactions.
Symptoms include irritation of the skin, gastrointestinal discomfort, difficulty breathing or headache. A distinction is made here between allergic reactions that are transmitted by the immune system, food allergies and so-called food intolerances.
Food allergy describes an over-sensitivity to certain substances contained in food. In contrast, intolerances as food intolerance are divided into enzyme defects or enzyme deficiencies, for example lactose or fructose intolerance, or pharmacological reactions, for example histamine intolerance.
A Food intolerance can have different causes. Contrary to what is widely assumed, these can arise in the course of life and are not innate.
Ready-made foods can be a possible cause of a food intolerance. The ready meals often contain large amounts of unnatural ingredients and additives which the body cannot or only poorly utilize. In addition, foods such as fruit and vegetables are made more durable through chemical treatment. The interaction of the substances ingested in high numbers through food increases the risk of developing food intolerance.
But not only the ingredients of food are possible triggers of food intolerance. If the body is under stress over a long period of time or is exposed to great exertion, fights against infections or if psychological stress spreads, food intolerances can also arise.
If strong medication has to be taken over a long period of time, the body often reacts with a defense reaction, including to certain foods.
The cause of the various symptoms of food intolerance are certain ingredients in the food that trigger intolerance reactions in the body.
Symptoms, ailments & signs
The symptoms of the various food intolerances are similar, but those affected often do not attribute them to an illness. They appear rather commonplace and those affected have mostly got used to living with them. The disease mostly affects digestion. Then symptoms such as diarrhea, flatulence, constipation, nausea or stomach pain occur.
In addition, it often expresses itself on the skin, which can lead to rashes or eczema and neurodermatitis. Headaches, palpitations and cravings for sweets can also occur. The symptoms of intolerance to certain foods can appear either immediately after consumption or hours later.
The complaints described above belong to the latter. Immediately after consuming a food, intolerance tends to lead to a stale feeling or even burning of the tongue. Swelling or reddening of the face may also occur. If a person suffers from another disease, this can be exacerbated by a food intolerance.
The disease can be determined relatively easily through a food diary, which is kept over several weeks. If the same or similar symptoms occur again and again after consuming a certain food group (e.g. milk or cereal products), there is a high probability that a food intolerance is present.
Diagnosis & course
Diagnosing a Food intolerance is not easy to ask. After reviewing the patient's medical history, other causes for the complaints are excluded and it is thus determined whether other diseases are present.
It can be helpful for the diagnosis if the patient draws up a precise consumption plan. This contains exactly what was eaten or drunk, as well as when which complaints occur. In this way, the food intolerance can be assigned to a food or ingredient in a short time. Special tests have been developed for food intolerance in order to be able to determine the body's reaction to the intake of lactose or fructose, for example, using a breath test.
This determines whether the body can process these substances normally. In order to find out whether the food intolerance is a food allergy, allergy tests are carried out.
The symptoms of food intolerance subside as soon as the food in question is no longer consumed. However, allergic reactions may lead to severe allergic shock.
As a rule, the complications and complaints of food intolerance can be avoided relatively well by excluding the food that is causing them from everyday life. In most cases, this food can be replaced by another, so that there are no particular complications in the everyday life of the person concerned.
The food intolerance usually leads to severe pain in the abdomen and stomach. It is also not uncommon for diarrhea or vomiting to occur, so that the quality of life of the person affected by the food intolerance is significantly reduced. However, a food intolerance can also lead to a rash on the skin, which is associated with itching.
Those affected often feel uncomfortable due to their food intolerance and not infrequently also suffer from psychological disorders or depression. In most cases, food intolerance is not addressed directly. Only in a few cases can drugs be taken to combat this intolerance.
However, long-term cure is usually not possible. However, doing without the causative food can reduce the symptoms of food intolerance well. The life expectancy of the patient is usually not reduced either.
When should you go to the doctor?
If a health irregularity occurs immediately after feeding, a doctor should be consulted. If the person concerned experiences a general malaise after ingesting certain foods, the observation must be shared with a doctor. If you have sweats, a tight throat, or a swelling in your mouth, this indicates an irregularity that needs to be investigated.
If there is a rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, nausea or vomiting, there is a health impairment that should be clarified. Changes in the appearance of the skin, watery eyes or a runny nose are a disorder of the organism. Redness, pustules on the body and itching are signs of intolerance. If there are digestive disorders, diarrhea or vomiting, a doctor is required.
In the event of an acute reaction from the body after ingesting food, an ambulance service must be alerted. Breathlessness, circulatory breakdown, or loss of consciousness should be treated by an emergency doctor. There is a mortal danger to the person concerned, which has to be averted by a first aid measure from those present. If there is irritation, inner restlessness or perception disorders on the skin, a doctor should be visited. If the symptoms recur or if they rapidly increase in intensity within a few minutes, a doctor must be consulted immediately.
Treatment & Therapy
A Food intolerance cannot be eliminated by medication. In the short term, only the symptoms can be treated with medication. It is possible to treat the symptoms of food intolerance with medication for nausea, diarrhea, headache or the like. Drugs can also reduce the severity of intolerance. The drug provides the body with the missing enzyme, which is needed, for example, to process milk products, lactose.
Basically, therapy consists in avoiding the foods and ingredients that trigger the symptoms. For this purpose, the patient receives a precise diet plan.Despite the fact that certain foods are not used, this ensures that the body is supplied with sufficient vitamins and minerals due to the food intolerance.
In some cases, food intolerances are not permanent. The symptoms only occur as long as the cause is present. An intolerance caused by stress or medication can subside again with a balanced daily routine or with stopping medication.
Outlook & forecast
The prognosis for a food intolerance depends on the exact type of intolerance. A slight intolerance in which certain food components cannot be digested well or not at all is never really dangerous. There are complaints, but they subside after a few days at the latest and leave no damage. This is the case with lactose intolerance or fructose intolerance.
Food intolerance in the form of an allergy has a different prognosis. In the worst case, this can lead to an anaphylactic shock and thus damage to the internal organs and even cardiovascular collapse. Rapid treatment is important and life-saving. However, most allergic reactions are milder. Any contact with the allergen poses a risk of shock.
Food poisoning, which is also counted as a food intolerance, has different prognoses. This depends on the exact poison and the dose.
Overall, most of the reactions resulting from a food intolerance can be described as harmless and fading. In a small proportion of all cases there are more violent reactions, such as circulatory problems or severe rashes. In most cases, waiting and avoiding the responsible food ingredient is enough to produce improvement.
The emergence of a Food intolerance cannot be prevented 100 percent, as every body reacts differently to life situations, drugs or additives in food. As a preventive measure, one should not add too many chemical additives to the body, which cannot be used or which are harmful to the body. It is advisable to prevent food intolerance to naturally kept foods.
The aftercare consists of long-term treatment and everyday support. The typical complaints should be kept to a minimum. Unlike usual, follow-up examinations for food intolerance are not carried out regularly. The doctor informs his patient about the triggering substances as part of the diagnosis.
The person concerned also receives behavioral instructions for everyday life. It is important to avoid certain foods through a diet. Ready-made products and additives should generally be avoided in meals. This prevents the allergic reaction from occurring in the first place. The responsibility for consistent implementation lies with the patient himself.
Sometimes drugs are prescribed to help moderate a reaction. You only need to see a doctor if you have acute problems or complications. A repeated test for food intolerance should only be indicated if there are new symptoms. Patients with fructose or lactose intolerance usually only need to keep a diet for a limited period of time.
You can do that yourself
If you have a food intolerance, you need to change your diet. This should be done immediately and in a very disciplined manner. It is helpful to take advantage of nutritional advice in order to obtain comprehensive and intensive information about alternative eating habits. In addition, the person concerned needs knowledge about cross connections. In many cases, the intolerance of one product also leads to an over-sensitivity of the organism of another food. This must be taken into account in good time so as not to cause unnecessary complaints.
People suffering from food intolerance are well advised to pay close attention to their physical well-being when consuming food. The smallest changes and abnormalities in the organism must be taken into account when selecting the nutritional preparation so that the overall health does not deteriorate. If possible, the use and preparation of ready-made products or ready-made meals should be avoided. Although the ingredients must be clearly visible on the packaging in accordance with the legal guidelines, they usually meet minimum quantities or other requirements. Therefore, not all the ingredients used in the products for sale are adequately labeled.
When visiting restaurants, good consultation with the cook is recommended. He should be able to list in detail which ingredients he uses in the preparation of his menus. If this is not possible, the person affected is advised to refrain from eating.