Can anyone give advice for confirming an allergy without medical testing? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 5 Old 02-06-2013, 02:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I've been avoiding wheat for a while because I seemed to feel better after I stopped, and I had a little bit of joint pain that also seemed to disappear when I stopped eating it.  I'm always skeptical, though.  Almost all of my friends are happy eating breads and pastas and I thought maybe I was just getting on a bandwagon.  Imagining symptoms maybe? 

 

So, it was feeling like a hassle and I ate a couple of sandwiches and some pasta in the past two days and just noticed what I believe are hives.  They are mostly small, a few are a bit bigger like patches of excema, mostly on my torso and arms.  

 

It seems very probable that it was the wheat.  But could it have been because I was overly warm in my sweater today?  What can I do to rule out other causes for certain?  I am feeling grumpy about eating a restricted diet without being 100% of the need to do so.   


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#2 of 5 Old 02-09-2013, 12:08 PM
 
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Symptoms are the gold standard to confirm allergies. This is true with allergists too (they call them food trials). Food allergy testing has a 50% false positive rate. Your symptoms really are the best confirmation. Outside of that there are very few false negatives if you do decide to do testing to confirm.

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#3 of 5 Old 02-10-2013, 08:17 AM
 
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If you wanted to eliminate other foods as possible sources, next time when you challenge wheat, make sure it is as plain as is palatable.  Bread is not the best source for wheat because it contains so many other ingredients.  Plain pasta (without eggs) is better.  Keep a food-and-symptom diary during your elimination time (1-5 weeks or so) and then again when you reintroduce wheat.  Make sure you don't eat an inconsequential portion of the food.  

 

Good luck!


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#4 of 5 Old 02-10-2013, 03:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks!  That's good to know about allergy testing's unreliability as it makes me feel better about not wanting to go that route.

 

I did wait a few days and ate a large amount again.  I almost always have eggs for breakfast and I did and then several hours later started eating wheat.  (I was stranded at my workplace with nothing but a very large danish coffee cake so I ate several helpings over the course of the day.  I know it was very impulsive!)

 

Anyhow, the hives had faded only a bit in the few days, but when I ate this they grew a LOT within hours.  So it caused a very immediate inflammation.  I suppose the fact that I ate large quantities the first time too is what had caused such a response.  I wondered why when I had occasionally eaten a slice of pizza nothing had happened before.  (I thought it made my joints ache but I wasn't sure.) But this was a large quantity including pasta and breads within a short period.

 

With the second response I can't see how anything else could have caused this.  I don't eat very much variety and no new foods recently.  The only remote possibilities could be cashews or oranges for the first one and they were not in play the second time.  However, I am going to avoid wheat completely for about month before I trial it to confirm again. 

 

Now I am now worried I might have other "hidden" allergies.  What kind of stress does it cause to have unknown allergies?  Have I been sensitive to wheat for a long time and not known it while it messed with my immune system, or do the new symptoms mean that the sensitivity is also new?

 

If I trial a food that is a known allergen, does that reaction cause any other problems?  It seems like it could be inflammatory somehow, and I don't want to cause harm when testing for symptoms.


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#5 of 5 Old 02-10-2013, 06:48 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by littlest birds View Post

 

Now I am now worried I might have other "hidden" allergies.  What kind of stress does it cause to have unknown allergies?  Have I been sensitive to wheat for a long time and not known it while it messed with my immune system, or do the new symptoms mean that the sensitivity is also new?

 

If I trial a food that is a known allergen, does that reaction cause any other problems?  It seems like it could be inflammatory somehow, and I don't want to cause harm when testing for symptoms.

I had new symptoms after the birth of my first daughter.  But thinking back--those were almost all there, I just thought it was normal.  I thought some of the troubles I was having was from blood sugar--but that was ruled out.  New coughing symptoms got me to make an appointment with an allergist.  What got me on board more testing was that my environmental panel was really bad--I have obvious and severe allergies to grass.  Every doctor comments on my constantly reddened skin and throat.  I tried doing a lot of the allergen elimination for environmental factors and was simply overwhelmed with how much is outside our control unless we live in a bubble.  

 

Finally, I decided to do a food panel.  Thought I "might" have an allergy to soy milk.  The food panel was catastrophic.  But--it turns out the numbers were fairly accurate as far as positive-negative.  There was some interpretation of the numbers-- I've later discovered that my reaction to hazelnuts (3/15) *feels* more acute (immediate throat swelling and burning) than my reaction almonds (3/26--mainly swollen tongue/headaches).  But over the next couple of years as I eliminated and challenged the different foods, I came to see that these results, for me, were fairly accurate.  It turns out the symptoms I thought were blood sugar related were in fact primarily my response to oats, my most severe allergy.

 

Some might disagree with fishing for allergies, and they have a good point.  But I had so many issues resolved that I thought were normal (what?  swelling tongues and bent-over-double GI pain aren't normal?  I must admit I missed an awful lot!  duh.gif)  What also disappeared was a crushing tiredness and symptoms I thought were the beginnings of depression (my dad is bipolar).  So, I am so glad I went in.  Pretty much the only thing I never touch are hazelnuts and oats and peanuts, which turns out were the cause of my new coughing symptoms.  Everything else I avoid and don't stress one bit about.

 

So, was I always allergic to these things?  If I was allergic to peanuts before, my reaction was not so severe.  My overall redness and inflammation on my skin seems to be getting mildly worse.  So, I don't really know the answer to that question.  Does it matter?  Symptoms can get worse, for sure.

 

I would not go fishing for hidden allergies unless you have reason to believe that you have issues the might be related to allergies.  (ETA--so not exactly "hidden" I guess, just unnoticed?)  Whether that reason is reason enough for someone else, well, let them make that decision for themselves.  What they will tell you is that results can be unreliable (true--but they can be spot on for an individual) and that you might end up needlessly eliminating foods and limiting your diet (also true).  But since I have had such an excellent result from my own "fishing", I cannot reasonably tell someone else not to.  I did have issues, though I didn't realize they were connected to allergies.  A lot of symptoms are connected to allergies beyond the typical hives/swelling issues--  like panic attacks, lethargy, etc.

 

So, you need to decide that for yourself.  It might resolve nothing whatsoever, and it might cause a lot of trouble and then resolve nothing whatsoever.  Or, like me, it might be a revalation.  It's entirely up to you, no explanations or apologies necessary.


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