While about seven out of every 100 children and three to four out of every 100 adults are diagnosed with some form of food allergy, the actual numbers could be much higher, especially in children, since one of the possible symptoms of food allergies, stomach upset, is often overlooked. The common allergic reactions expected to food allergies range from mild to life-threatening, and include rash, itchiness in our around the mouth, breathing problems, tongue swelling and bronchial tube and throat constriction. One of the mildest symptoms, therefore typically overlooked, of food allergies is upset stomach. This non-responsiveness to an allergic reaction is especially prevalent when attempting to diagnose children, who seem to suffer from mild stomach upset on a fairly regular basis. The key to detection of a food allergy is to be aware of patterns in food consumption that result in upset stomach.
While many medical professionals will contend that upset stomach, in correlation to ingestion of certain foods constitutes a food intolerance, rather than an allergy, negating this precept are numerous clinical records which indicate that many cases of food intolerance in children advance to additional and more severe symptomatic patterns, leading to the eventual diagnosis of a food allergy. Since most children will outgrow their food allergies, arguments for and against early diagnosis and treatment are disputed.
Some studies indicate that children who are refused exposure to food items that trigger an upset stomach response, reduce the risk of more severe allergic reaction while the body matures and becomes tolerant of the offending food. Contrary to this belief is that, since stomach upset is a mild and non life-threatening symptom, moderate and periodic exposure to the offending food item will increase the tolerance level in most children until the body is able to accept the allergen without reaction.
Unfortunately, neither of these doctrines can be positively proven or disproven, simply because everybody is different and, especially in the cases involving quickly growing children, the biological changes can occur so quickly that it is impossible to determine the reason for a seemingly sudden change in sensitivity to certain foods.
The decision to prohibit accessibility to certain foods may simply be determined in the individual’s tolerance of the reaction and their willingness to endure the symptoms in order to build immunity to the disagreeable food item. The obscurity of the food item will also contribute to possible treatment path. If the food causing the reaction is something very common, such as tomatoes, it may be worth tolerating the symptoms to try to overcome it, just to avoid the social consequence of refusing something so prominent in many recipes.
Overall, stomach upset can be an indication of many early stage food allergies that may go undiagnosed because consideration of this condition as a symptom of food allergy is generally overlooked. Suspicion of food allergy, due to stomach upset, should be monitored for pattern and increase in severity of existing or additional symptoms.