Topic 2 Food Intolerance Symptoms

Food intolerances can be recognised by specific symptoms. These adverse reactions of the body to certain foods do not depend on the body’s immune system’s activation. Unlike allergies, intolerances are usually less severe and manifest themselves gradually.

There are different types of food intolerances:

  • The most common are enzymatic intolerances, which are caused by the body’s inability to metabolise certain food components. An example is the intolerance to lactose which can be found in cow’s milk and other dairy products.
  • Intolerances may also occur due to food additives and substances with pharmacological activity.

Food intolerance manifests itself gradually and in proportion to the amount of food consumed. In most cases, the organism is “intoxicated”. Given this, it is possible to identify the food intolerance as a discomfort triggered by the ingestion of particular common foods, such as wheat, dairy products, lactose, and eggs.

In the case of food intolerances, it is necessary to eliminate the consumption of foods responsible for the disorder for a few months under medical supervision and replace them with others to meet the body’s nutritional needs. After a period of abstinence, the patient can try to gradually reintroduce these foods into their diet.

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In general, people who have a food intolerance tend to experience:

  • Acid/poor digestion: food intolerances are manifested by dyspepsia, which includes symptoms, such as heartburn, regurgitation, bad breath, and pain located in the upper abdomen.
  • Stomach cramps: abdominal cramps with the appearance of a painful sensation that seems to “tighten” the upper abdomen. This symptom appears suddenly, then disappears and finally reappears after a few moments.
  • Diarrhoea: generally occurring in an acute form, and, sometimes continuing over time and becoming chronic.
  • Flatulence: intolerance can also cause excessive gas in the stomach and intestines.
  • Nausea and vomiting: unpleasant feeling of malaise accompanied by a tendency to vomit.
  • Itching: occasionally intense and leading to a desire to scratch; also associated with skin reactions.
  • Swelling: caused by the accumulation of gas in the stomach and the intestines.
  • Colitis: particularly acute and colic stomach-ache, co-occurring with violent contractions of the intestinal muscles.
  • Headaches: continuous or intermittent, mild, or severe, localised in one place or generalised.

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