Food Allergies and Intolerances

Food can have an effect on all parts of the bowel starting from the mouth to the anal opening. We are increasing seeing children present with food allergies and intolerances.

The relationship between food and symptoms is not easy to identify. We encourage parents to keep a diary of symptoms prior to clinic visit so any potential food group can be identified to have a role in causing symptoms like diarrhoea, abdominal distension, bloating, vomiting and others. It is important to stay on normal diet as best as possible until you see the clinician.

Investigations for food allergy are only helpful in case of immediate reactions such as food intake causing appearance of rash or swelling of lips as these are allergic reactions which also give a positive response to skin tests and blood tests. The best test is elimination of the food group which has to be done for a period of atleast 6 weeks. This is currently the recommendation from NICE. However if there is a concern of Coeliac disease normal diet should be continued until full diagnosis is establised by endoscopy.

Management of food intolerances requires a multi disciplinary input with dietician. With routine intolerances most children gain tolerance in a few years.