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Women's Food Intolerances

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Many women attribute occasional bloating, nausea, fatigue, cravings or headaches to their monthly period or stress. Taking a look at the bigger picture often can show the root of these problems can actually be one or more food intolerances. If the symptoms mentioned above along with potential other symptoms such as sneezing, coughing, poor complexion or skin, trouble losing or gaining weight or digestion issues are common in your daily life it might be useful to take a look at your diet and consider a food intolerance.

Food intolerances should not be confused with a food allergy. Food allergies display different symptoms that tend to be more immediate upon consumption. Surprisingly only four types of food intolerances exist and they are dairy (lactose) intolerance, fructose intolerance, yeast sensitivity and gluten intolerance. Symptoms of this intolerance typically include gastrointestinal symptoms such as bloating, nausea, diarrhea and malabsorption.

Yeast sensitivity carries a wide array of symptoms including gastrointestinal issues, yeast infections, throat infections and ear infections. Headaches and breathing difficulties can also exist in people with yeast intolerance. Gluten intolerance can be confirmed with medical testing that labels a person with Celiac disease.

Only a small portion of people with gluten intolerance will test positive for this disease and the rest of the people simply have non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Wheat, oats, rye and barley are all included in the gluten group and symptoms can include: headaches, weight loss or gain, poor immune system, eczema and gastrointestinal problems. Fructose (or sugar) intolerance applies more to the malabsorption of the product. Changes to one’s mood along with low iron, fatigue, diarrhea, gas and bloating are all indicators of fructose intolerance.

For those interested in taking a deeper look into whether or not they may have a food intolerance there are a couple different options you can choose. An elimination diet is the most drastic and involves limiting your food intake to some very basic ingredients that are typically tolerated very well. A few of these foods include rice, some fruits and vegetables and lamb. Basically you’re eliminating the commonly aggravating foods for 4-6 weeks, seeing how you feel and then slowly introducing other types of foods one at a time to see the effect it has on your body. This diet should be followed with the help of a doctor since the minimal amounts of food you’re taking in can cause you to be deficient in certain nutrients.

Another option and less drastic is keeping a food journal. Writing down everything you eat each day along with the status of your health and well being can create a bigger picture over the course of 4-6 weeks and can potentially help determine if there are certain foods that are triggering a bodily response that isn’t normal. Cutting out certain foods based on the journal can confirm or deny whether or not you have one of the four intolerances. The benefit of the diet journal is that you’re not restricting what you can and cannot eat (Without probable cause for doing so). Also you don’t need to be closely monitored by a medical professional and you can basically diagnose yourself. Further testing by a doctor can also help confirm any suspicions.

Aside from the annoyances from symptoms associated with food intolerances there are serious health risks involved that should be considered. Even if you find your symptoms tolerable for the most part, long term effects can include (According to Foodintol.com) asthma, anxiety, depression, behavioral issues in children, gluten intolerance can lead to Celiac disease if untreated, thyroid disease, irritable bowel syndrome and infertility issues among others. While it can be difficult to diagnose a food intolerance it is achievable.

Sometimes an immediate reaction can take place upon eating the food however there are times when it can take eating the food for a few days in a row to trigger a response. Other factors can also affect the severity of the intolerance such as menstrual cycle or illness. Once intolerance is suspected simply cutting out that food or minimizing it’s prevalence in your diet can make a huge difference. Many substitutions are on the market now including milk substitutes like rice milk or soy milk, gluten substitutes that are made with rice flour and even sugar substitutes. Once your body cleanses itself from the intolerable substance, you should notice a great change in your overall health and well being.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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