Can a Gastroenterologist Test for Food Intolerance

Can a Gastroenterologist Test for Food Intolerance?

Table of Contents

Ever felt bloated, gassy, or just downright unwell after a meal, leaving you wondering if you might have a food intolerance or sensitivity? Should you go straight to your gastroenterologist (GI doctor) to find out? 

What is a Gastroenterologist?

Gastroenterologists are doctors who specialize in the digestive system—your stomach, intestines, liver, and more. They're experts at diagnosing and treating conditions like celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and ulcers.

What is a Gastroenterologist

Types of Food Intolerance Tests

Although going to your doctor might be your first reaction, there are several ways to test for food sensitivities and intolerances from home. Let’s look at what tests you should take with your gastroenterologist or which tests you can take from home quickly:

  • Food Elimination Diet: 

    • Need Doctor: MAYBE
    • How it Works: You remove suspected trigger foods for a set period. Then, you reintroduce them one by one, carefully tracking your body's responses. This test is recommended to be performed under the supervision of a dietician or doctor.
    • Pros: Can be highly effective in pinpointing triggers. Relatively inexpensive approach.
    • Cons: Time-consuming and requires careful planning to avoid nutritional deficiencies. Symptom tracking can be subjective and hard to interpret.
  • AFIL Food Intolerance Test Kit: 

    • Need Doctor: NO
    • How it Works: Using a small hair sample, this innovative test analyzes how your body reacts to a wide range of foods and food additives at the cellular level. Results guide you towards personalized dietary changes.
    • Pros: Non-invasive, incredibly convenient, and can provide a comprehensive picture of potential triggers. Fast turnaround time for results.
    • Cons: A newer technology; it's wise to discuss this type of testing with your doctor to interpret the results effectively.
  • Hydrogen Breath Test:

    • Need Doctor: YES
    • How it Works: You drink a solution containing lactose, fructose, or other sugars. If intolerant, your gut bacteria will ferment the sugar, producing hydrogen, which is measured in your breath.
    • Pros: Highly accurate for diagnosing lactose and fructose intolerance. Performed in a medical setting.
    • Cons: Limited to specific sugar intolerances; won't detect broader sensitivities. Preparation for the test can be restrictive.
Hydrogen Breath Test
  • Skin Prick Test: 

    • Need Doctor: YES
    • How it Works: Tiny drops of food extracts are applied to the skin, and a slight prick is made. A wheal and flare reaction (like a hive) indicates an immediate allergy.
    • Pros: Quick results, useful for diagnosing severe food allergies.
    • Cons: Not designed for delayed food intolerances, which are far more common.

Important Note: It's always best to discuss ANY type of test with your doctor to ensure it's right for you, and to help interpret the results.

Choosing the Best Way to Test for Food Intolerance

The ideal approach depends on your individual needs:

  • Suspect Specific Sugars: A hydrogen breath test with a gastroenterologist might be the answer.
  • Severe or Immediate Reactions: Consult an allergist for skin-prick testing and appropriate management.
Severe or Immediate Reactions

Can My Gastroenterologist Order the Right Test?

It depends! Here's the breakdown:

  • Celiac Disease: If celiac disease (a serious autoimmune reaction to gluten) is suspected, your GI doctor is your superhero. They'll order blood tests and possibly an endoscopy.
  • Lactose or Fructose Intolerance: A hydrogen breath test might be the answer, and your gastroenterologist can order it.
  • Other Intolerances: For sensitivities beyond those, your GI doctor might offer guidance on elimination diets or refer you to an allergist or dietitian. But they likely won't offer the type of food intolerance test kit you can do at home.

Why At-Home Food Intolerance Test Kits Are Different

These kits test for a wider range of potential triggers than a gastroenterologist's usual toolkit. They're designed to detect your body’s reactions to over 1000+ items. They can detect which “healthy” foods might actually be harming your body, as well as other items like vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, heavy metals, and environmental toxins.

What's The Best Way To Test For Food Intolerance?

If you suspect a broad range of food sensitivities, combining strategies might be best:

1. Consult Your GI Doctor: Rule out serious conditions first.

2. Consider an At-Home Kit: Get a broader picture of potential triggers.

3. Work with a Dietitian: Develop a personalized elimination plan and interpret test results in the context of your overall health.

Important Note: At-home food intolerance test kits are a hot topic, with varying opinions on their reliability.

Consult Your Doctor, But Don’t Wait To Find Out Your Results

GI doctors are essential for diagnosing and managing underlying digestive conditions. While they might help with specific intolerances, an at-home food intolerance test kit can cast a wider net and get you your results quicker. Remember, no test replaces professional medical advice! Think of it as a team effort: your doctor ensures there's nothing medically serious, while other tools help you fine-tune your diet.

Watch AFIL test kits testimonial videos click here

advanced food intolerance labs kit

Author: Dr. Sony S. | Panel Expert, Medical Doctor Dr. Sony is known for her medical articles, written with in-depth detail and accuracy owing to her vast medical knowledge and thorough research of each article. She completed her degree with multiple scholarships from Guangzhou Medical University and is a board-certified Clinical Doctor. She is currently working as a Medical Officer in the emergency department of a renowned hospital and continues to publish numerous medical papers and articles. Dr. Sony continues to lead the way in medical breakthroughs, unparalleled by her high level of detail, knowledge and passion for discovering new sciences and innovative healthcare treatments.

Ready to get started on your health journey?

Take the Quiz