Q&A: What is the relationship between food intolerance and PPD/TMS?

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I wonder if food intolerance symptoms (not allergic reactions but severe indigestion) could be related to my TMS. I've had 'gastritis' since my uni days, the onset happened during a very stressful year. Then, when my marriage started to fall apart I developed another sudden intolerance to certain foods that are rather unheard of to cause allergic reactions. I find I can consume them in very small amounts without any ill effects, but not more than ~ once a week. If I eat a normal portion I get severe 'food poisoning,' once hospitalized for it. I eliminated these from my diet and all else was fine (except for depression which I finally overcame back then) for a few years until I developed chronic nerve and muscle pains... The TMS-related discussions often refer to allergies, but not indigestion reactions to specific foods, without any obvious reason why it may be so. Did anyone have similar experiences? Thank you.

Answer by Dave Clarke, MD

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Dave Clarke, MD

Dave Clarke's Profile Page / Survey Response / Bio Page / Psychophysiologic Disorders Association (PPDA) President

One study showed that only 4% of people who thought they had a food allergy or intolerance actually had one. Most of the rest likely had PPD, particularly when gastrointestinal symptoms rise and fall with the stress level. (That being said, the condition called Celiac disease, which is not caused by stress, can present itself in a number of subtle guises and can be checked for with high reliability by a blood test.) Stress-related gastrointestinal symptoms are quite common and can be severe enough to lead to hospitalization. When people get these symptoms they usually then recall recently consumed foods and mistakenly blame them for the problem. Foods you can eat some of the time without problems are usually not the source of the symptoms.


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