Food Allergies & Food Intolerances

Is your child or baby suffering from stomach pains, bed wetting, sleep disturbances, bloating, constipation, diarrhoea, headaches, itchy skin problems, ADD? Or does your baby have inconsolable crying or reflux? They could be suffering from an intolerance to one or more foods they are eating.

Food intolerances can be difficult to diagnose as symptoms can take up to 72 hours to appear, in which time a lot of different food and drinks have been consumed. Whilst an elimination diet can help identify the particular food, it can be a long and tedious process, requiring diligence and commitment. We recommend testing for food intolerances. It’s a simple finger prick test which can be performed in our clinic.  It tests for intolerances to 96 common foods.

If your child experiences any of the symptoms listed above on a recurring basis you should make an appointment with us to discuss testing for food intolerances.

For those interested in the difference between food allergies and food intolerances please keep reading.

Food allergies and food intolerances are terms often used interchangeably; however, this is incorrect.

A food allergy is an immediate reaction to a particular food and result in itchiness, rash or hives, swelling of lips / mouth, nausea/vomiting, diarhhoea, tummy pain and if severe will lead to life threatening anaphylaxis.  Children with a known severe food allergy will usually carry an Epi-pen (adrenaline) in case they are inadvertently exposed to their allergen food.

A food intolerance can present in any manner of symptoms including:

  • skin – urticaria (hives); eczema; angioedema; sweating; dark circles under eyes
  • gastrointestinal – constipation / diarrhoea; bloating; gas; vomiting; tummy pain; bad breath; reflux / colic
  • nervous system – headaches; poor sleep; irritability; inappropriate behaviour; mood swings; poor memory and concentration
  • respiratory – asthma, chronic sinusitis, chronic rhinitis (runny nose); hay fever; wheeze; continual throat clearing.

A child can have an intolerance to a single food or a number of foods. A food intolerance will cause localized inflammation within the gastrointestinal tract, leading to an opening of the tight gap junctions found in a healthy digestive tract. Once these gap junctions are open they allow the passage of food proteins or chemicals into the body and reactions occur which lead to the symptoms listed above. Therefore it is not only important to remove the food to which your child has an intolerance but also to repair the digestive tract lining in order to restore optimal health.

Whilst an elimination diet can help identify the particular food, it can be a long and tedious process, requiring diligence and commitment. We recommend testing for food intolerances. It’s a simple finger prick test which is performed in the clinic. The sample is sent to a laboratory and is screened against 96 common foods including dairy, wheat & gluten, eggs, fruit & vegetables, nuts and legumes. There is no need to change the diet prior to the test; in fact it is important to maintain the usual diet.

If intolerances are identified these foods are removed from the diet and the process of healing the digestive tract will begin.  Within a very short time of removing the offending foods you will see improvements in your child’s health.

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