Signs & Symptoms of Food Sensitivities

By Erin Ringwald

Food sensitivity is different from a food allergy. Food allergies tend to be immediate and severe, sometimes resulting in death, while a sensitivity, or intolerance, usually takes days or weeks to develop and reactions are less severe. Knowing the signs and symptoms of a food sensitivity helps you determine what is causing your body distress.

What is a Food Sensitivity?

When your body cannot process a food, this is a sensitivity. Depending on the specific food and your body’s reaction, you may not know you have a sensitivity because the food just passes through your body undigested. Treat sensitivities by avoiding the food or adding supplements to your diet.

Digestive

In the event that your body is able to digest the food partially and not just pass it straight through, digestive problems often occur. Digestive problems include constipation, diarrhea, bloating, gassiness, indigestion and heartburn. Gas is common because the body is not able to digest the food so it just sits in the belly for a while. This leads to fermentation and gas. Diarrhea occurs because the body takes what it can from the food and then passes what is left.

Skin Problems

Although digestive problems are more common, your skin may tell you that a food allergy exists. Signs of skin problems related to food sensitivities include hives, eczema, rosacea and other minor skin rashes. For example, according to BAX Symptom Relief Center in Colorado, food sensitivities sometimes cause inflammation, resulting in rosacea.

Other Symptoms

Aside from digestive or skin problems, a myriad of other signs and symptoms should be looked for with food allergies. Respiratory problems, such as congestion, bronchitis and breathlessness, may develop. General discomforts including headaches, sleep problems and weight changes are another concern. Alternatively, you may experience behavioral changes such as irritability or concentration problems.

Warning

Although food sensitivities generally develop slowly and the symptoms generally do not cause immediate life- threatening results, a food sensitivity needs to be treated and should be discussed with a physician. If you are sensitive to certain food, your body does not absorb nutrients and vitamins, which leads to deficiencies such as anemia or osteoporosis if left untreated.

© Demand Media 2011