That’s not an Allergy, its Acid Reflux
Did you know that an estimated 30% of Americans believe they have a food allergy, when in fact only 4% of the U.S population are legitimately allergic or intolerant to certain foods. That is a big gap in perception. How can so many people falsely think that they are allergic to certain foods, you ask? A large percentage of people misinterpret their body’s uncomfortable reaction to certain foods as an allergic reaction, when in fact they are experiencing acid reflux.
Acid reflux isn’t an allergic reaction!
Like a food allergy, acid reflux may cause you to experience unpleasant symptoms after eating. However, many patients will attest that the types of foods that cause acid reflux range, while a food allergy is triggered by a specific ingredient.
The top culprits that often trigger acid reflux include:
- Coffee (and many other forms of caffeinated drinks)
- Red meat
- High-fat dairy products
- Fried foods
Living with acid reflux forces you to change the way that you eat.
For many people, these ingredients comprise a predominant portion of their diet. Spicy foods and drive-thru meals become incredibly hard to handle for someone who battles heartburn on a regular basis. This is one reason that so many people attribute their indigestion to a food allergy.
A real food allergy develops as a result of antibodies that are released in your body that interpret a specific food as harmful, and this causes people to break out in a rash or hives when they are exposed to the allergen. More commonly, people experience food intolerances, which many people think of as an allergy but are actually quite different. Food intolerance develops over time and will cause general gastrointestinal discomfort and may even include symptoms similar to acid reflux and heartburn.
What makes acid reflux different?
Unlike a food intolerance or allergy, acid reflux is highly treatable. There are a number of forms of treatment available, including medication, lifestyle changes and reflux surgery. In the case of food intolerance or allergies, there is not much in the way of treatment options. Instead, the best bet is for the patient to avoid eating those foods.
Your reflux surgeon, Dr. Bagnato, can determine if you are experiencing an allergic reaction or intolerance to foods, or if instead you are actually suffering from GERD. Knowing what is causing your discomfort is the first step towards finding relief.