Are Allergies the Source of your Stomach Problems?

Tummy trouble? You may have food allergies. A lot of people limp along with symptoms that resemble Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) when they could get relief from food allergy treatment. One of the most common symptoms of food allergy is gastrointestinal distress, including cramps, gas, diarrhea, constipation, and even vomiting.

Allergies Source of Stomach Problems

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The most common food allergies stem from the “Big 8” foods: wheat, soy, rice, milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, and nuts. In addition to digestive problems, allergies to these foods can cause a number of symptoms including:

  • Eczema and hives
  • Hay fever (runny or stuffed up nose, sinus problems)
  • Itching or swelling of the mouth and throat

Food allergies occur when the body mistakes proteins in food for harmful germs or bacteria. The immune system reacts by releasing chemicals such as histamine. Histamine can wreak havoc on the gut, inflaming the gastrointestinal tract, bogging down the digestive process, causing painful cramps, and more.

If you suspect food allergies, you can consult your allergy doctor (allergist). They can order an allergy test kit to see which foods you are most sensitive to. You can then avoid the trigger foods, but this can be difficult if you are allergic to common foods. Staying away from staples like milk and wheat, for example, can make mealtime tricky.

Another option is to seek treatment using immunotherapy. Immunotherapy is the only treatment that has been shown to change the underlying allergy. Subcutaneous immunotherapy (allergy shots) has been used for a long time to treat pollen allergies, but it doesn’t work well as a food allergy treatment program. Sublingual immunotherapy, on the other hand, has been shown to be effective in diminishing the effects of food allergies.

Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) came on the scene in the mid-1980s. It works a lot like allergy shots except that the allergen extracts are taken as liquid droplets under the tongue instead of being injected into the skin. Oral versions of immunotherapy made big headlines a few years ago when Duke University successfully used them to desensitize kids to peanut allergens.

If you are tired of living with gastrointestinal distress, contact your allergy physician about a food allergy test kit and a potential food allergy treatment program, which can offer wheat, nut, and milk allergy treatment.

About The Author

Stuart H. Agren, M.D.

Stuart H. Agren, M.D. completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Utah and went on to earn his Doctor of Medicine from Tulane University School of Medicine in 1974. He completed additional training at L.D.S. Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah and then established his private medical practice starting in 1975. Dr. Agren completed a mini-residency in Industrial Medicine at the Robert Johnson School of Medicine at Rutgers University and also completed training to become a certified Medical Review Officer.

Dr. Agren was the Medical Director at TRW and McDonnell Douglas in Mesa, Arizona and at Stauffer Chemical and Kennecott Copper in Salt Lake City, Utah. He also served as an adjunct faculty member at Arizona State University.

In his private medical practice, Dr. Agren specialized in family practice and allergy. In his work as a private practice allergist, he was one of the first doctors in the country to prescribe sublingual immunotherapy to his patients as an alternative to subcutaneous immunotherapy (allergy shots). He has also been a trailblazer in the field of food allergy treatment and research, developing a program to treat multiple food allergies simultaneously using sublingual immunotherapy. Dr. Agren has been featured on local CBS, NBC, and ABC news affiliates and won the peer-nominated “Top Doc” award from Phoenix Magazine.

After 20 years in private practice, Dr. Agren became the Founder and President of AllergyEasy, which helps primary care physicians around the country offer allergy testing and sublingual immunotherapy treatment to their patients. Over 200 physicians in over 32 states use the AllergyEasy program to help their patients overcome environmental and food allergies and asthma.