Food allergies can cause symptoms ranging from stomach discomfort to potentially life-threatening. Exposure to even the smallest trace amount of a food allergen can send someone into anaphylactic shock. What’s even worse is experiencing an allergic reaction but not knowing what causes the symptoms.
A skilled doctor is the key to successfully controlling food allergies and living a happier and healthier life. Dr. Anne Hermann and her team will identify the cause of your allergies and help you manage your life with a food allergy.
More about Food Allergies
Food allergy testing has become more sophisticated. We are now able to detect food allergies through blood work. The most common food allergy groups are:
- Tree nuts
Symptoms may affect various parts of the body, such as the eyes, ears, nose, throat, mouth, lungs, skin and gastrointestinal tract, and may include:
- Runny nose
- Abdominal cramping
Food Allergy Testing Methods
Some of Hermann Wellness’s patients are aware of the foods that cause allergy symptoms. For example, they experience gastrointestinal symptoms (cramps, diarrhea, vomiting) after drinking milk or eating wheat. Other patients are not confident which foods produce symptoms. The Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) organization warns against self-diagnosis, as it “can lead to unnecessary dietary restrictions and inadequate nutrition.” Instead, patients should undergo food allergy testing with Dr. Hermann’s team to identify their triggers.
There are two types of food allergies. Severe allergies are caused by an antibody called IgE. IgE allergies are life threatening and may require epinephrine. The more common and less severe food allergy is caused by IgG antibodies. IgG allergic reactions are more subtle. They cause symptoms such as gas, bloating, muscle and joint pain, migraines and rash. We also test for a severe wheat allergy called celiac disease, which is caused by a third antibody, called IgA. Celiac causes ulcers on the intestinal lining. It affects 1 percent of Americans, while 6 percent of Americans have IgG reactions to wheat.
Before ordering any tests, we will sit down with you to discuss your condition, concerns and medical/health history. We will ask questions about your diet and symptoms. Based on what you tell us about your symptoms and possible triggers, we will order diagnostic testing to confirm the food allergy.
We use two labs for blood allergy testing: ALCAT and Genova IgG. (If cost is an issue, we can educate you on how to do an elimination diet that can help determine which foods are causing your symptoms.) With these methods, we can test for up to 200 different food items (300 items total, including food, spices, food additives, herbs, molds and environmental chemicals).
ALCAT and Genova IgG Testing
Food allergy symptoms are triggered by an antibody called immunoglobulin E (abbreviated to IgE). The ALCAT and Genova IgG tests measure the presence of IgE in the bloodstream.
If you elect to have blood testing, you will need to avoid antihistamines for three days. During your appointment, we will take a blood sample in our office, and send it to the ALCAT or Genova labs for testing. The results take about a week, at which point you will return to Dr. Hermann’s clinic to review them. Once your food allergy triggers have been identified, we will work with you to manage life with your food allergy. Obviously this includes avoiding the trigger, but may also involve taking medications ahead of time if you think you may be exposed to the food (e.g., at a buffet or restaurant), carrying an Epi-Pen with you at all times and other coping strategies.
Dr. Hermann and her staff can also talk to you about your overall nutrition and put together a meal plan tailored to your specific dietary needs.
Our patients are usually curious about the costs of food allergy testing with ALCAT and Genova. For more specific information about food allergy test pricing, please contact our office to speak with a member of our staff.
Contact Dr. Hermann
Dr. Hermann leads a team of compassionate doctors and nurse practitioners who have years of experience working with Tampa and St. Petesburg allergy patients. To contact Hermann Wellness please call (813) 902-9559 or (727) 278-3992 today. A friendly staff member would be happy to answer your questions or schedule an appointment for you.