Ask The Allergista: Where do I go to get tested for food allergies?

Q:

I have IBS, Diverticulosis & GERD. Lately I seem to be having problems eating dairy products and have found them to be very bloating. I often get so bloated, that not only do I look fat, but I feel like I'm going to explode. What is the best way to go about food testing for allergies? Through a gastroenterologist ... or allergist??? Could you give me your advice.

Thanks so much!

A:

Sorry you're having to deal with all of this. I know EXACTLY how you feel about being bloated after eating dairy. I feel increeeedibly better since I found out about my lactose intolerance and began avoiding it. It's funny because I went so many years feeling puffy and not understanding why at ALL. I was beginning to think it was all in my head.

My allergist did the testing for my lactose intolerance as well as my vitamin deficiency and she also tested for gluten and some other stuff. So, I'd suggest hitting up an allergist for that stuff. I went to mine and said, "Look, I've done tons of allergy testing and have found out about many of my allergens, but something is STILL up. I told her about my digestion problems, how I still have skin issues and also about how I get horrible foot cramps (cramps were because of my vitamin D deficiency) so she ran a bunch of tests. The lactose, vitamin levels and gluten tests are actually blood tests. They took a few vials of blood and about a week later, I had the results.

Also, patch testing specialists can test for things in food such as gallates which are in hydrogenated oil and anything containing gallic acid. My patch test specialist, who is a dermatologist, filled my back full of patches and tested anything from chemicals to metals to food products. Ultimately, it was a combination of my allergist and this other dermatologist (not my regular dermatologist) which helped me figure out what I know about the foods I'm allergic to.

I'd definitely suggest getting tested if you're noticing problems with dairy. It can change your world.

I hope this helps and please report back if you get tested!