You've noticed that you often develop a headache shortly after you eat. This could be a sign of a food allergy. These allergies are easily tested for and, once you know, you can avoid those foods that cause you a problem. Here is how food allergy testing is done and what you can do once you discover that you're allergic to certain foods.
Testing for an Allergy
Your doctor has a couple of options for food allergy testing. They may do both to verify that you are really having an allergic response.
Skin Test - The doctor places a small drop of an extract of the food on your skin. Through this drop, your skin is pricked slightly with a needle. In a few minutes you'll see results if you have an allergy to that food. You'll develop a small bump or rash where the skin was pricked. Your doctor may test for several foods this way to narrow in on the types of food giving you problems.
Blood Test - If you have a skin condition that prevents accurate results from the skin test, a blood test may be done instead. This test looks for antigens in your blood that were produced by your immune system's response to a food allergen. The presence of the antigen only occurs when you are allergic to a certain food.
The Challenge Test
Your doctor may have you do this test to determine which foods are the problem. For example, the blood and skin tests may show that you are allergic to dairy products. But the allergy may be to milk, yet you are tolerant of eating cheese. The challenge test shows to which precise foods you are allergic and how much you must consume to have any problems.
You'll begin by eating a small portion of the food. Your doctor will have you increase portions over several days until you begin to have symptoms of an allergy. If you develop no symptoms, you'll switch to a different food and begin the test again. The results will show you how much you can eat of a certain food before you have your headaches or other allergy symptoms.
Treating Food Allergies
There are no cures for food allergies. Your doctor can give you medications that reduce the severity of the symptoms. Avoidance of the food in your diet is the best treatment.
You may find alternatives to those foods that will not produce symptoms. For example, you may be allergic to cow's milk, but can tolerate using goat's milk and products made from goat's milk.
For allergy testing, contact a company such as Allergy Asthma & Immunology Center.