Food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome (FPIES) is a mouthful, but it is simply an allergy created by foods that affect the gastrointestinal tract. Food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome or FPIES for short can create a lot of uncomfortable symptoms. It may even have you feel like you have food poisoning. In most cases, FPIES is not serious, but if you do not take control of your symptoms, you can become very lethargic and experience dehydration. Food allergies can affect children and adults alike. If you have food allergies, your body creates an immune response to them that results in all types of other problems.
Not everybody is allergic to food. Some people have allergies and do not even know it. They think they just ate something bad. They may even confuse allergies with food poisoning. Allergies do not always result in sneezing, itching, or watery eyes. In fact, these are typical symptoms of environmental allergies. All allergic reactions are the result of the same immune response. Symptoms differ based on where that response is created. If you have allergens in your nose, it is likely that you will end up with a lot of sneezing and maybe congestion. If you have allergens in your stomach, the symptoms are totally different.
Food allergens enter by way of your mouth. Sometimes you find your throat becoming itchy or your tongue and face swelling because of ingestion. Other people do not experience any of these symptoms and experience gastrointestinal problems. When certain foods enter the body, the body creates IgE antibodies against them that attach to the food proteins. FPIES is not from you eating or drinking protein. Any food that you eat breaks down into proteins. That breakdown happens in the digestive system. The IgE antibodies attach to these proteins in the intestine and causes enterocolitis.
Enterocolitis is inflammation of both the large and small intestine. Infections from bacteria, viruses, and parasites typically cause Enterocolitis. It is rare for food to be the culprit, but when you have allergies, it is possible. The histamines created in the intestines once the IgE antibodies attach to the food proteins causes the inflammation and discomfort. There are many sources of FPIES. In children, milk is typically the culprit. Sometimes babies cannot handle cow’s milk and creates an allergy to it. Breastfed milk may also cause the same problems. In order children and adults, grains are the problem. Oats and rice are the most common grains. Chicken and fish may also be a problem.
The symptoms of FPIES is the same for everyone but in children, symptoms can be worse. The main symptoms of FPIES are vomiting, diarrhea, and weight loss. These symptoms occur in everyone. In children, though, they may fail to thrive. They will not gain the weight they need to gain and struggle to meet developmental milestones. If FPIES is not treated, you will end up becoming lethargic and dehydrated. Dehydration is serious because it may cause shock. When you or your child are experiencing FPIES you may need medical attention to get your body under control.
The doctor will first have to verify you are experiencing FPIES. These symptoms are similar to food poisoning and other digestive related infections. You do not want to be treated for the wrong thing. Sometimes a blood test can be done to rule out bacteria. Normally, you will have to go through a food allergy test. The doctor will either do an oral challenge or prick you with a possible allergen. Both tests help to diagnose the problem. Diagnosis is not always necessary because once you stop consuming certain foods, the problem goes away.
The best treatment for Food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome (FPIES) is avoiding foods that cause the problem. No matter how much you might like rice or chicken, if it causes FPIES, you need to stay away from it. It may not have to be forever, sometimes you grow out of these allergies, but until you know for sure, do not test it. In instances that you become lethargic and dehydrated, you will need IV fluid. It is important to get those fluids back in you so that your body can recuperate from the reaction. There is not much more than can be done to treat the disorder. Most of the time, treatment is dependent upon you avoiding those things that cause enterocolitis.
Food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome (FPIES) is primarily found in children. When your baby is given milk, they will instantly react to it if their body is allergic. As they get older and try solid foods, you will also notice if they are having digestive issues. If you notice your child is not thriving, you should make an appointment to see an allergist. They can help you figure out the cause of your children’s allergies and give you suggestions on how to feed them. Sometimes kids grow out of it and have no problems into adulthood. When you become an adult, your health is in your hands. You have to take control of your eating habits and only put into your body those things that contribute to a healthier you.
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