Allergies are always annoying. Sneezing, runny nose, congestion, puffy eyes, and a sinus headache are typical pictures of a person suffering from an allergic reaction. However, these are not the only effects of allergens; the digestive problem is one significant symptom of seasonal allergy.
Food allergies often cause digestive issues like gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, nausea, or heartburn. However, can a food allergy cause gastritis? The answer is yes, however less likely. Let’s start the journey to learn more about food allergy and digestive issues, gastritis.
What Is Food Allergy?
Food allergy is the reaction of the immune system that occurs after consuming a particular food. However, often the allergic reactions are mild; they can be severe, even life-threatening. Even a tiny bite of the food-allergen can trigger the signs and symptoms.
The signs and symptoms of food allergy can develop in several areas of your body, often at the same time. However, the common symptoms are-
- Itchy feeling or sensation inside the mouth, throat, or ears
- Hives or a raised itchy red rash
- Face swelling, especially around the eyes, lips, tongue, and roof of the mouth
- Difficulty swelling
- Shortness of breath
- Abdominal pain
What Is Gastritis?
Gastritis is the inflammation of the stomach lining. The stomach lining usually protects your stomach tissue from harmful acid. Gastritis leads to less production of mucus and enzymes that work as a barrier against the stomach acid. Gastritis can be of two types- chronic and acute. Acute gastritis usually lasts for days, weeks, and months and goes away. However, chronic gastritis is a persistent condition that may not resolve easily and quickly. In addition, gastritis can be erosive or non-erosive. Non-erosive gastritis doesn’t harm your stomach tissue; however, erosive gastritis is a dangerous condition that damages your stomach lining, causing ulcers or other issues.
Can A Food Allergy Cause Gastritis?
The word is histamine. When your body detects any foreign substance like dust, pollen, or specific food, it releases histamine. In reply to histamine discharge, surrounding blood vessels expand and increase white blood cells and blood plasma proteins in that area to commence the healing process.
All the symptoms of an allergic reaction are the outcome of an overactive immune system. Now, 70% of your immune cells live in your gut. Therefore, it’s pretty evident that an allergic reaction can cause serious havoc in your stomach too. A study suggests that a common allergy symptom- inflammation can harm villi. They are small structures in the stomach wall that assist in absorbing digested food. In addition, allergic inflammation reduces the effectiveness of the epithelial barrier, which shields your body from physical and chemical damage.
Therefore, there is a close connection between food allergy and digestive issues like gastritis. Additionally, your gut is also the hometown of the microbiome, the good little bugs with the immune system. They protect your intestinal lining, the barrier that controls the guests into your bloodstream. This barrier also prevents foreign invaders from entering.
If there are fewer god bugs, the invader can enter with more force, triggering the immune system to react with inflammation and releasing histamine. Moreover, the microbiome also helps differentiate friends from foes. Now, if your microbiome goes out of control, your immune system also becomes unable to detect friends and enemies, thus catching everything, even the harmless substance, as harmful.
As a result, your immune system attacks too many areas, causing allergic symptoms, food sensitivities, and digestive issues. Usually, the treatment of your digestive system relieves you from such allergic reactions and resolves the problem of gastritis and other gut issues.
Symptoms of Gastritis
The symptoms of gastritis vary from person to person. Some encounter no noticeable symptoms, whereas many have severe symptoms. A sharp and stabbing pain in the upper-center or upper-left abdomen is common with gastritis that often spreads to the back. However, other symptoms of gastritis include-
- Vomiting, often containing blood
- Shortness of breath
- Severe stomach pain
- Chest pain
- Bowel movement with foul-smelling
However, if you encounter the following symptoms, without delay, seek medical attention.
- Abdominal pain with a fever
- An accelerated heartbeat
- Shortness of breath
- Extreme sweating
- Yellow or green vomit or vomit containing blood
- Black or bloody stool
Tests and Treatment of Gastritis
Usually, doctors run a physical examination, endoscopy, electrocardiography, and check for the presence of H. pylori using blood and stool testing to detect gastritis. However, if the source is an allergic reaction or food intolerance, few other tests can detect it.
- Histamine testing – measures immune reactivity
- Mycotoxin Testing – measures histamine intolerance or overloaded histamine in urine
- Comprehensive Stool Analysis – detects protective bacteria, identifies possible hidden gut infections, and assesses your ability to digest food.
The moment your provider can detect the source of your gut condition, the process of treatment becomes apparent. Depending on the situation, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics, H2 blockers, anti-nausea medications, antacids, etc. If allergy is the reason for your gastritis, in that case, you have to see an allergist too. The allergist will detect the specific foods, trigger allergic reactions, suggest a food plan to avoid all the triggering items, and manage the symptoms if a reaction occurs.
When you have a gut issue due to a food allergy, treating the gut issue often releases you from an allergic reaction. However, maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle, avoiding the triggering allergen is always a better option. However, you can try to reduce your risk by-
- Maintaining hygiene
- Eating well-cooked foods
- Avoiding medications that can irritate the stomach
- Avoiding smoking and consuming alcohol
- During eating, sitting down, and chewing food
- Keeping caffeine and refined sugar intake to a minimum
- Drink plenty of water
- Exercise regularly
Gastritis and Food Intolerance
Food intolerance is different from food allergy; it’s the difficulty digesting certain foods while having an unpleasant physical reaction. It causes several symptoms- bloating, tummy pain, diarrhea, skin rashes, etc. Food intolerance is a digestive system response, not an immune system response.
You may encounter food intolerance if you eat food, irritate your digestive system, can not digest properly, or eat food in a hurry. Food intolerance usually doesn’t have any noticeable symptoms unless you eat a large portion of that specific food, and that’s frequently. Usually, food intolerance doesn’t influence gastritis; however, if you continue eating food that irritates your gut, you may invite severe digestive issues, including gastritis.
Can Lactose Intolerance Cause Gastritis?
Lactose intolerance refers to the troubles in your digestive system processing dairy products – milk, egg, cheese, etc. If you have lactose intolerance, you may suffer from gastritis, inflammation in your stomach lining. Usually, you face lactose intolerance when your small intestine fails to produce enough lactase. It’s a type of enzyme that assists in food absorption. Lactose intolerance causes intestinal infections, intestinal disease, and other gastrointestinal tract conditions, including gastritis.
Can a food allergy cause gastritis? Yes, it can; however, the chance is minimal. Gastritis is the inflammation of the stomach lining that the overactive immune system may trigger. However, with the proper treatment, you can manage your allergy and digestive issues like gastritis easily.
If you are suffering from gastritis due to food allergy or other conditions, contact Dr. David Nazarian at MyConcierge, MD. He is an expert primary care physician well-known for patient dedication, good communication, trust, and sensitivity. His personalized, evidence-based approach will ensure your overall well-being, health, and a better lifestyle.