Does anyone else get allergic reactions/swallowing difficulties etc to gluten and other foods? What symptoms and how do you deal with it?

i have been coeliac and gluten free for over a year but still had many symptoms. I am finally feeling better since I've cut out corn, soya and rice. However over the last few months I've been having scary symptoms where my mouth/tongue/throat as been going numb and I've been having difficulty swallowing. I watched the post concerning cross-reactivity by FionaGFG (thanks!) and realised I was eating a lot of potato and since then, I stopped and the symtoms have disappeared, until this evening. No potatoes etc only meat, veg and seeds (although my family had potatoes) and very faint discomfort in throat.

I don't know how to deal with it. I am now frightened of eating anything. I don't know why I am becoming sensitive to everything. Not sure how to deal with it. I'm sure allergy tests would come back negative and am convinced I'll be shrugged off by the dr.

I feel lke my immune system has become so highly sensitive that it is scary. And what makes it worse is that I think my 10 year old daughter is following me in my footsteps (she's already GF but is starting to have symptoms come back).

Does anyone else have the same problem and has anyone else found a solution....?

14 Replies

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  • I haven't experienced this, but why not get it checked out by your doctor, it may not be sensitivity to food. And you don't want to stop eating! Good luck. Hope you get it sorted soon.

  • Leaky Gut Syndrome causes protiens to cross the intestinal barrier and enter the abdominal cavitiy. Those food protiens are then seen as invaders and the body attacks them creating a reaction (sensitivity or allergy) Guts damaged by gluten and other problems are vulnerable to this type of issue. You may wish to investigate this further, if this problem rings a bell for you.

  • It's probably not much help but I had something similar last year. I'm not a diagnosed coeliac but have pernicious anaemia and discovered accidentally that eating gluten free removed most of my fatigue symptoms.

    After a few months of my new diet I also started noticing frequent strange sore throats - I thought I was reacting to something but couldn't work out what. After weeks of this I had a very distinct moment when my throat tightened sharply after eating macadamia nuts and realised I was reacting every time I ate anything with nuts in, such as chocolate.

    I got quite scared and went to a private allergy clinic (my GP wasn't keen to pursue my self-diagnosed gluten sensitivity so I thought saying I suddenly had a problem with nuts too would tip her over the edge!).

    The allergy doctor said I had no allergies but suggested I take probiotics (acidophilus) and the throat reactions did go away rapidly. I think going suddenly from a high sugar/high gluten diet to being gluten free and low carb had probably hugely mucked up my gut flora.

    It might be something as simple as this, but I'd really recommend talking to a doctor. I can remember very well how horrible it felt - as if everything you eat could turn against you.

  • One way to approach this is to try an elimination diet, where you eat nothing but neutral foods unlikely to provoke a reaction (salmon, rice, salt, bottled water) for a week or two until your symptoms subside, and then reintroduce foods individually and wait for a reaction. My friend did this to figure out what was causing rheumatoid arthritis flare-ups and it was very helpful. It means an extreme change of diet for a while, but it is a very "safe" way to eat (for a while you have eliminated all likely causes of discomfort) and could give you confidence in expanding your diet in a controlled way until you identify the trigger(s).

    Your reactions sound really unpleasant, and I'm sorry to hear your GP has been unhelpful. Good luck.

  • The allergy advice above is great. Other autoimmune problems can trigger these symptoms - Sjorgen's might feel like this through dry mucous membranes as can Vitamin deficiencies through malnutrition or anaemia (currently my problem). Do you also get dry eyes, mouth, throat? Plus make sure the docs have ruled out thyroid problems. Good luck.

  • Hi KarenBC,

    If you haven't already done so then the first piece of advice is to see your doctor. Your problem may be caused by quite a few different things and so you really need a medical confirmation. On this occasion I think it may be a little unwise not to do so.

    I have had problems with my thyroid and had to have part of it removed resulting in a tightness that made it difficult to swallow properly for quite a long time afterwards so I know how frightening this can be. I purchased aloe vera juice and drank it every day for a few months which helped quite a bit but I was still left with the feeling that I needed to lower my jaw every time I swallowed. At the time I had no knowledge that I was a coeliac however so was looking for other aids to cure the problem. I introduced seaweed into my diet (if you have never tried seaweed or sea vegetables, as they are often called but would like to consider adding them into your diet for the first time - then look for sea salad as this is the mildest mixture you can buy and is usually quite reasonably priced. It is packed full of minerals, easily digestable and so is ideal for people with coeliac disease. It can be added as suggested to salads but also to soups, stews, casseroles, cakes, sandwiches, etc). Numbness and tingling sensations often occurs through a shortage of magnesium in the body. Every time a person urinates they excrete magnesium to the more often a person needs to go to the toilet the more magnesium is lost. Added to this, it is also not an easy mineral to absorb. It is a key mineral for health as shortages can lead to all sorts of unpleasant problems including extreme tiredness and fatigue, muscle cramps and muscle twitching, aches and pains, palpitations .. well there is quite a long list. I am a little naughty, as I do buy magnesium tablets .. I don't take them every day but I do top up with them once or twice a week .. this however is my own personal choice as it hasn't been recommended by a doctor. I do think that most people are probably deficient of magnesium at some point in their lives and are more likely to be with increased age. Shortage of magnesium also often leads to gaining weight. People who suffer with diahorrea, loose bowel movements, tummy problems are prone to have magnesium defficiency. People who may suffer vomiting, nausea and so forth often develop shortages of magnesium. Some people feel palpitations if they are not taking in enough magnesium. Foods rich in magnesium are: bananas, salmon, shrimps, sardines, rice, yams, spinach, aubergines, corn, mozerella cheese, almonds, Brazils, dried coconut, cashew nuts, peanuts, hazel nuts, walnuts, sesame seeds, dried beans such as navy, pinto,etc, spirulina, seaweed, spinach, tomato paste, quinoa, millet, pumpkin seeds ..

  • Thanks. Hadn't thought about seaweed...

  • I already take magnesium or I get the cramps and palipitations etc. I have also been taking probiotics for 6 months at least.

    My thyroid has been checked, double checked by a endocrinologist but all was normal. I thought about the change in diet thing because I know it can be a symptom for hypoglycemia but have been checking my blood sugar levels and all is fine. I was checked for MS several years ago but that came back fine too.

    Two days without potatoes and symptoms have eased up but I have now had to cut out: all gluten and grains (inc corn, soya, rice), white potatoes, all dairy, chocolate, all sugars.

    I am now going to have to retest quinoa, buckwheat and tapioca but am waiting till I have stabilised a bit more. The allergy reaction thing has shaken me up a bit.

    My next question is how do you keep up your calory and energy intake (and weight) without eating starches etc. People on SCD diet and raw food diets must have the same problem but I don't know how they do it. I eat seeds and nuts although I'm now concerned that I'm going to finish by being allergic to them to.

    I am off to the GP on Monday to ask for allergy testing but I'm pretty sure they'll come back negative as the problem will probably be "only" intolerance.

  • Are you by any chance eating Free from foods from Supermarkets? Just an extra thought as most of these have high proportions of potato starch in place of the wheat component part of the recipe.

  • I don't even go near the free from aisle. I only cook from scratch and its always fresh or frozen meat and veg, oils, salt and pepper, fresh herbs, coconut products, dried lentils and peas, nuts and seeds. Limited fresh fruit.

    No processed, no transformed. I should be the healthiest person living....

    The recent potato intake was because I'd started to make my own bread with quinoa, buckwheat, tapioca and potato flour with bicarb soda. Only connected potato because my asthma had been getting much worse and someone mentioned nightshade plants giving asthma like symptoms. Stopped the bread and the asthma went and the difficulty swallowing etc seems to have gone too but its only been a few days so still feel like I'm walking on egg shells.

  • It may be something as simple as a pesticide spray or artificial fertilizer. I have never had your symptoms through fresh vegetables and fruit but I have had frantic palpitations which I eventually narrowed down to shop bought pears. They were not organic and so would have had variious sprays during their growing process. This put me off pears for many years but eventually I decided to plant some pear trees in the garden - at least they would then be free from sprays. Conference pear trees will thrive on their own as they don't need to cross-polinate and the trees are quite small so suitable for small patches. I buy organic potatoes and often plant the peelings that contain eyes just under the surface of the soil - most of these grow into lovely potato plants. They grow quite well at the back of the border.

    I do hope that your symptoms are gone for good. It may be that even organic potatoes may cause problems for you. I must admit that they are probably the only member of the nightshade family that I eat and only then occasionally.

  • I have suffered full blown anaphalactic shock and rushed to hospital as the result of eating gluten in error. I now carry and epi-pen.

  • Thanks for all the replies. I've been to see my GP this morning who is sending me for allergy testing (not intolerances). Has anybody has positive results to allergy testing? EMcd, you said you had an anaphalactic shock. What was the reaction? Did you test positive to an allergy test for wheat or is it a reaction due to gluten intolerance?

  • I also do not eat any grains, sugars or potatoes (eliminating potatoes has helped reduce my arthritis-like pains). I have no problems with my energy levels, in fact I think my energy levels are better now than they were before. We eat other root vegetables which have carbs in (parsnips carrots etc), we make veg soup or have roast veg. I start the day with a protein meal like cheese omelette. I eat full fat products which also keep up your calory intake and stop you feeling hungry. We also use some sea salt in cooking. I have not put on any weight and my blood pressure is healthy low. I know that we are constantly told not to eat saturated fat but I can find no convincing evidence for this. I guess it may depend on whether or not you have any existing heart problems. This article has some interesting things to say scientificamerican.com/...

    I have found that I can eat buckwheat, which is great.

    Hope you can find a diet that works for you.

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