Physical pain after eating a certain food can also cause emotional and mental distress. It can be overwhelming to navigate this occurrence, especially if you’re unsure if it’s due to a food allergy, intolerance, or sensitivity. Allow us to shed light on these three conditions:
A food allergy is characterized by an immune system response to a certain food. When the immune system contacts a specific food particle, it will trigger a severe response (possibly anaphylaxis) to force the food particle out of the body. If someone has a food allergy and consumes or inhales the food accidentally, he may experience:
- Hives or red, itchy skin
- Stomach cramps
- Stuffy or itchy nose
- Teary eyes
- Lump in the throat
- Throat or chest tightness
- Tingling in the hands, feet, lips, or scalp
- Trouble breathing
Most food allergies are attributed to eight foods – cow’s milk, eggs, wheat, fish, peanuts, shellfish, soy, and tree nuts.
A food intolerance is characterized by a digestive system response to a certain food. Normally, when food travels through the digestive system, a specific enzyme will breakdown the food. However, if that enzyme is not present in the digestive system, the food cannot be broken down which forces the digestive system to go into distress mode. This causes painful symptoms, such as:
- Stomach pain
A food sensitivity is characterized by problems in the digestive system. Unlike an allergy or intolerance, a food sensitivity reaction may not take place for several hours after consuming the food. Timing is one of several reasons why people may not realize they have a food sensitivity. If you have a food sensitivity, you may have similar symptoms to a food intolerance, as it is occurring within the digestive system.