Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Food Reactions

Despite having had the negative allergy testing, I'm still having reactions occasionally to some foods. I didn't elaborate much on my allergy testing before, but I was highly disappointed by it. When I told the doctor the reactions I had been having, he told me it wasn't possible. He told me it wasn't possible to have hives for two weeks, even though I said I had. He told me it wasn't possible that I had a swollen throat, swollen enough for others to tell me I looked like I had the mumps, for a couple weeks. He told me normal reactions only last for a few hours or days.

I totally understand it not being the typical reaction, but when a doctor tells me it isn't even possible, it's very clear to me that I've been labeled a hypochondriac at best or a liar at worst and that there will be no working relationship between us. So then what? At least I found out that I wasn't having an IgE mediated response to certain foods, so I no longer was worried about anaphylaxis, that gave me some level of peace, so I just dropped it ... forgot about it.

Then ..... at Oktoberfest in downtown Cincinnati I had another issue. We were there for at least five hours. I had two beers. I was careful to eat foods that I knew were safe for me. I had fried fish ... at an outdoor event ... who knows if food handling there was perfect? In the middle of the night, I woke up with heart palpitations and GI issues. My husband said I probably had a hangover .... from TWO beers? I told him I only had two beers, that it felt like an allergy (if you have allergies, you know what I mean by that, the feeling of too much adrenaline or something). I was sick for four days.

One day last fall we bought some peaches at a local farm. They were so good I ate five. The inside of my mouth burned like I had swished around acid in it. The same thing has happened with pineapple.

I took two bites of my husband's lobster bisque at a restaurant. I had two glasses of red wine with my dinner. I was sick the whole next day with intense fatigue.

I had champagne on my anniversary a couple days after the lobster bisque. Maybe a little more than my usual two glasses, but certainly not enough to be hammered ..... or sick for five days afterward ... two of those days not even leaving bed. This time headache, body aches (severe), severe tightness in the chest, cough, and fatigue.

It was then that I started researching. Obviously SOMETHING was causing these reactions. So I started looking at common denominators and came up with histamine. All the foods I've mentioned are high in histamine. To compound that affect, alcohol lowers the chemicals in the body that process histamine. The reason these reactions look like allergies, if I'm right, is that histamine is usually a reposnse to an allergen. Yet it's also present in foods.

When I think back, this isn't a problem that started after Lyme Disease. I remember reactions like I've described above happening as far back as college.

The way to diagnose a histamine intolerance is to go on a low histamine diet for a month, then to challenge it. So, I'm starting a low histamine diet to the best of my ability. It also means no alcohol, which shouldn't be too hard, though I'll miss having a glass of wine once in a while.

I'll let you know how it goes. I feel like I might finally have an answer.