If your child has a food allergy, chances are you already know about it – hives after eating strawberries or difficulty breathing around peanuts. These types of reactions tend to be easier to determine because of the immediate immune system response. They are called anaphylactic reactions.
Food sensitivities can be harder to tease out, however, because they can take up to 72 hours to develop, and sometimes even longer. Food sensitivities may present over time in response to over-consumption of a particular food or an imbalance in the gut microbiome. The consequence of continuing to eat foods one is sensitive to is inflammation and potentially chronic illnesses. Symptoms of food sensitivities often tend to be vague and seemingly unrelated.
The following are 10 signs of food sensitivities in your child:
- Unexplained weight gain or loss
- Stomach aches
- Constipation and diarrhea
- Frequent bed wetting
- Fatigue, joint pain, and muscle pain
- Frequent infections, especially of the ears and throat
- Skin irritations and rashes
- Behavioral issues
- ADD/ADHD or other concentration issues
- Autism Spectrum Disorder
Luckily there’s plenty you can do to help your child resolve these issues and continue to grow happily and healthfully. The first thing you can do is empower your child by allowing them to be a detective and try to figure out which foods cause problems. This can be eased with tests I discussed a couple of months ago, and either way, discovering the correlation can be a great relief. Food sensitivities may change over time and, with diligence and corrective action, may resolve.
Dr. Brian Myers is a naturopathic primary care doctor with a focus on pediatric and family health at Live Well Clinic in La Quinta. Visit us at www.livewellclinic.org or call 760-771-5970.