Are Food Allergies Common with Hashimoto's Hypothyroidism?
I received the following email from a visitor who has hypothyroidism but apparently has developed food allergies. She asked me if I came across others who have developed food allergies after getting hypothyroidism. No one had emailed me about food allergies & I hadn't developed any food allergies like this. (I just don't do well with sweets but that has been since age 5 so can't blame that on hypothyroidism.) She wanted me to include her email here to see if anyone else has developed food allergies. If anyone has developed food allergies & want to share about it on this site I'ld be glad to add anyone's emails here who want me to. Just email me & let me know.
It appears that food allergies are common among people who have autoimmune diseases. I have received numerous emails from people sharing about their experiences with hashimotos and food allergies. I have discovered within the past year my GI problems were steming from lactose intolerance. Using milk for lactose intolerance and latose pills has significantly decreased my GI problems and on occasion when I have a problem it's from eating too much cheese or dairy products.
I received an email from a visitor to my site which I'll share here since she shares what she has found to help her. It may be helpful for others visiting this site looking for answers to their food allergies.
I ran across your blog on Hashimoto's Disease and wanted to relay my story to you. I am a 41 year old female and was diagnosed with Hashimoto's in August of this year. My dr. immediately put me on a gluten free diet. He says there are strong links to gluten allergies and many auto-immune disorders (including Hashimoto's, CFS, ADD and Fibromyalgia). He also tested me for a hormonal imbalance (which I had) and put me on bio-identical hormone replacement therapy. As of today, I am still thyroid-medicine free....the gluten-free diet has kept my TPO levels down. He also put me on Vitamin D3 and Iron supplements. This has all helped tremendously. I wanted to share what worked for me, thanks for sharing to us all what worked for you!
I was wondering if you've ever heard of a thyroid patient suddenly developing an allergy to food.
Three weeks ago I made a meatloaf with bell peppers. That night, I had the worst heartburn I've ever had in my life. Two Zantac, tums -- nothing could cure the pain and it had me awake all night. The next day I broke out in itchy welts all over my body. I took benedryl and it didn't help. In fact, after a day or so my hands and feet swelled up and my upper lip became swollen. I went to the emergency room and the doctor said that it was a food allergy and he prescribed steroids. He said the reason he knew it was a food allergy is that the palms of my hands were itchy. He said it should clear up in about 48 hours. I didn't want to take the steriods because they made me spill sugar and I don't want to turn into a full blown diabetic. Someone gave me psyllium husks powder from a health food store and amazingly it worked. I took the psyllium in my cereal every morning for a week. The heartburn and welts didn't completely go away, but it was greatly reduced to a tolerable level. After a week, we went on a weekend trip and last Saturday I had the horrible heartburn again, followed by itchy welts. This time the swelling was worse. My face became hideously swollen and I was in serious trouble. I started taking the benedryl. but it didn't help. On Monday I got the steriod prescription filled. The swelling went away, which I believe saved my life, but I still broke out in itchy hives every time I ate. Yesterday I started taking the psyllium husks powder again and the hives are almost gone now, but I know the problem still exists.
On Monday, I am going to see an allergy doctor but I have a really wierd feeling that there's something more going on here. Have you ever heard of anything like what I'm experiencing? With your resources I can't help but think you might know of someone whose had a similar experience. I can't help but get the feeling that this is somehow related to an autoimune problem.
If you do know someone, please feel free to forward this email on to them asking for some insight on how to proceed with treatment. Maybe I should go to an endroconologist instead of an allergist. I know for sure I am going to have the allergist call my endocrinologist to ask for his input. In the meantime, I'm doing what I can to gather as much information as possible.
Please feel free to add my letter to your web page and get input from others. I'm going to ask the doctor about CFIDS and FM when I see him on Monday. I'll be sure to write you and let you know what I find out. These symptoms are really puzzling. I did a lot of research on the web and can't find anything exactly like what I am experiencing. Food allergies are normally a reaction to specific foods, not every food (like what I've been experiencing). That's what made me begin to think this was somehow related to an autoimmune disease.
I'll check in with your web page periodically.
It feels good to make contact with kindred spirits.
I've added a few details that I left out of the first email I sent you. I hope this isn't too long. Maybe you'll want to edit it?
I was wondering if you've ever heard of a thyroid patient suddenly developing an allergy to food. This is not just a specific food, but I've become allergic to everything I eat.
Three weeks ago I made a meatloaf with bell peppers. That night, I had the worst heartburn I've ever had in my life. Two Zantac plus four tums could not stop the pain and it had me awake all night. The next day I broke out in itchy welts all over my body. I took Benadryl and it didn't help. In fact, after a day or so my hands and feet swelled up and my upper lip became swollen. I went to the emergency room and the doctor said that it was a food allergy and he prescribed steroids. He said the reason he knew it was a food allergy is that the palms of my hands were itchy. He said it should clear up in about 48 hours. I didn't want to take the steroids because they made me spill sugar and I don't want to turn into a full blown diabetic. Someone gave me psyllium husks powder from a health food store and amazingly it worked. I took the psyllium in my cereal every morning for a week. The heartburn and welts didn't completely go away, but it was greatly reduced to a tolerable level. After a week, we went on a weekend trip and I left the psyllium at home. That Saturday night, after eating at a buffet restaurant I had the horrible heartburn again, followed by itchy welts. My day developed a pattern: I could eat a bit of toast, followed by terrible heartburn then the itchy welts would flare up. The welts would grow smaller after a few hours, but when I ate, the pattern would repeat again. I couldn't eat anything without having a reaction -- 3 small pieces of canned peaches, ½ a banana, ½ a plain hamburger patty, one piece of toast, 2-3 saltine crackers-- everything I ate gave me the same reaction even though I ate tiny portions and spaced my meals at least four hours apart. After three days the swelling in my hands, face and feet became worse than before. My face became hideously swollen and I was in serious trouble. I was taking Benedryl every four hours but it didn't help. I finally got the steriod prescription filled. The swelling went away, which I believe saved my life, but I still broke out in itchy hives every time I ate and I was till eating only tiny amounts of food. On Friday, I started taking the psyllium husks powder again and miraculously the hives are almost gone. I'm still a little itchy (it looks like mosquito bites now) and feel very weak.
I have an appointment to see an allergy doctor but I have a really weird feeling that there's something more going on here. Has anyone else ever had this experience? If so, what did you do to cure it?
Hi, Linda, I went to the allergy doctor yesterday afternoon and got tested. After 50 years, I've suddenly developed an allergy to milk, corn, apples oranges and cocoa beans. The doctor also suspects MSG and other food preservatives. He prescribed an antihistimane and diet free of the suspected foods and additives.
I still suspect there is some connection to thyroid disease and I'm curious to find out if there are any other thyroid patients who've had similar experiences.
Thanks for your help, Linda
Other Letters From Visitors
I read the letter from a person who was a thyroid patient who discovered they had an allergy to a particular food. I am one of those people and will quickly share my story.
I am 25 years old and was diagnosed last year with hypothyroidism. I've been taking my Levoxyl and everything was going well until about 7 months ago when I started breaking out into hives, and my face felt like it was burning off. To make a long story short, this happened 5 other times and each reaction was getting worse and worse. I eventually went to an allergist and we discovered it was wheat. Mind you, I was eating wheat every day in sandwiches and bagels and was fine, but all of a sudden, I was getting a severe reaction, so much so that I went into anaphylactic shock. My allergist gave me Allegra and an Epi-Pen and sent me packing. I never really talked with him about the correlation between my thyroid and this allergy. I'm convinced the two are related.
I wanted to share my story with you and the other writer.
"Hello my name is Leah Wells. I totally understand what your other two writers are talking about. I am 27 years old and was diagnosed with hypothyroidism 9 years ago. I was on synthroid which in my opinion darn near killed my liver, but now I am taking a large dose of Armour. When I was younger my main food group was peanut butter, sandwiches, toast, bagels, waffles, ect.... I love honey roasted peanuts, regular plain or salted peanuts, cashews, almonds just about any nut or legume you can think of. One day when I was 25, I was sitting on the couch watching TV and eating honey roasted peanuts and all of a sudden it felt like I had bronchitis. I couldn't figure out for the life of me what was going on. About an hour later I was fine. A little later I ate another handful of the same peanuts and it happened again only a little worse. I thought that was weird but didn't put two and two together yet. When my husband got home that same day about three hours later I tried some more and I felt my throat start to close my breathing was labored it was really hard for me to swallow and my friend (who is also allergic to nuts) told me to take two Benadryl and go lay down because I was having an allergic reaction. Shocked the heck outta me since I had eaten this my whole life (by the way I should have gone to the ER I was told by my regular Dr due to the fact that I had a pain in my left are and my pinky and ring finger on my left hand went numb). I mentioned this strange event to my endocrinologist and he just gave me a funny look and told just to stay away from any nuts.
So ok now I'm allergic to nuts after 25 years of eating them, ok, fine, it sucks but whatever. So one day I was at work and we were having a pot luck. One of the ladies brought in some cookies made with peanuts I know distinctive taste I guess I just wasn't paying attention, however I didn't know that until after I had already eaten the cookie. I did not have a reaction on this occasion, but have had reactions to peanuts on other occasions since. I did find that almonds will instantly close my throat and macadamia nuts (though I haven't ever fully ingested one) will instantly make my tongue numb and swollen. So I am positive that when my thyroid medicine is doing its job and I am ok, I can eat peanuts (but absolutely no other actual nut) but when my thyroid is off I am allergic. Either way I was told to stop eating it all together and I am most unhappy about that :(
I don't know if this helps at all, its probably too long and drawn out, but I just wanted to let the others know that I completely understand what they are going through. Thank you for your time.
~Leah Wells :)"
I notice your email, that either you or your husband is in the Navy. Thank you for your service.
I added your email to my website. I never came across someone before with the same pattern of food allergy/reaction. I have a reaction to high frutose corn syrup/sweets. I get headaches, migraines & stomach upsets if I eat too much sweets (or carbohydrates that turn to sugar) but as I would always say the reaction would "depends on what my hormonal levels are at" because sometimes I can eat several pieces of hard candy or a bowl of ice cream but other times just one piece of candy or one small cup of soda will cause a headache or migraine type headache so I simply don't eat much sweets. I've had problems with candy and sweets since I was 5 years told and eat a lot of jelly beans on Easter but all throughout my childhood I always seemed to get sick on my stomach a lot until I figured out what got my stomache upset. When I didn't eat sweets I didn't get stomach upsets. I simply learned to avoid what upsets my stomach and have learned to "listen to my body (stomach)" so rarely have stomach upsets or headaches from what I eat. (However work is another story that is a major source of headaches! The Peter Principle)
Thanks for sharing your experience. I know it will be helpful to a lot of folks who read the about food allergies on my website.