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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Could I have a food intolerance?

    In the last 5 years( give or take a couple) I have been experiencing fluctuating bowels. I have persistent flatulance and upset stomach.
    In the space of half and hour after eating a meal my stomach is churning and hyperactive and then I have diarrhoea. More recently though have been feeling excessive tiredness, occasional nausea and mild headaches.

    I'm generally very healthy and fit and know that I am not functioning at my peak.

    My plan at this point is to see gastro specialist, but in the mean time thought i'd see if someone may be able to shed some light on the matter.
    Thanks for your help.
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 1


    Lisa Chen

    Credentialled Diabetes Educator (CDE), Dietitian

    I am a member of DAA holding an accredited practicing dietitian (APD) and AN status.I am capable to provide individual consultation and group education to … View Profile

    Seeing a gastroenterologist is definitely the right approach. There are different kinds of gastro disease all sharing similar symptoms. It is difficult to say whether it is a food intolerance without further investigation. Coeliac disease can be picked up by blood test and Biopsy (Biopsy is the gold standard rule). The best way to diagnose food intolerance would be the skin prick test. Irritable bowel symdrom is also possible, but unfortunatelly there is no specific method to diagnose this. It is all symptom based.

    I suggest you to make sure you have regular meals on time first and cut down caffine and alcohol if you think you have too much. Keep a food diary and highlight those “troubled foods”. This would help your specialist in diagnose. And you may be beneficial to see a dietitian after the diganose for education of specific diet.

    Hope this help you.

  • 1




    Linda Dal Castello

    HealthShare Member

    I have have had similar problems for the last 2 years,I tried seeing doctors and a naturopath who helped by putting me on probiotics,I went gluten and diary free as well as giving up coffee,black tea and processed foods. I now eat a more fresh raw food,healthy grains etc. I got better but was still having symptoms. I stumbled on the FodMap diet which has changed my life. I highly recommend you look into this as many people who have irritable bowel problems which is what it sounds like,get amazing relief. Monash University are doing all the research so go to their website and you can download an app or buy the FodMap book,but there is also a lot of information online. I found I was eating everyday the things that were actually triggering my symptoms!

  • 1


    I am a firm believer in being healthy means more than just a healthy diet. It also include a healthy mindset and a healthy lifestyle. … View Profile


    I suggest you first go to visit a gastroenterologist to get tested for coeliac disease and rule that out as CD has many complications if left untreated. 

    If alll scans and tests appears normal, there can be a few possibilities:

    1. gluten sensitivity - where you don't have coeliac disease but sensitive to gluten containing foods including wheat, rye, barley and oat.
    2. fructose and lactose malabsorption - foods that are high in fructose such as apples, pears, mango, honey and lactose such as milk, ice cream and yoghurt… along with this you might also be sensitive to sorbitol, mannitol and GOS from other fruit and vegetables. The test for this is hydrogran breathe test which is the nly test available for it. Food intolerance now a days is very common. Keep in mind that stress plays a big role in this too. 
    3. lacking in digestive enzymes or low in stomach acid. Unfortunutely there are no tests for this, it all depends on clinical signs and symptoms. 

    What I suggested above is a handful to deal with on your own. Seeing a dietitian specialise in the area can give you more guidance and support as figuring out which food you are sensitive / intolerance / allergic to can be a long process. Hope this help!


    Sarah Leung
    Accredited Practising Dietitian

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