Signs you may have a food allergy or intolerance

While it can be normal to occasionally experience gastrointestinal distress — such as bloating, diarrhea or constipation— if you frequently have uncomfortable GI symptoms, you may have a food allergy, intolerance or sensitivity.

The main difference between a food allergy and intolerance is that an allergy is related to your immune system, while an intolerance is related to your digestive system. Generally, food allergies cause more severe symptoms than food intolerances.

What is a food allergy?

A food allergy is an immune response to a specific trigger. The most common food allergens are wheat, fish, shellfish, tree nuts (like walnuts and cashews), peanuts, eggs, milk and soy.

If you have a food allergy, your immune system sees that particular food as a threat. A food allergy can cause a severe or even life-threatening reaction.