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 Post subject: GI reactions
PostPosted: Sat Mar 11, 2006 8:35 pm 

Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2006 2:31 pm
Posts: 29
For those of you who have GI reactions only, can you share what yours are like? My reactions are really only GI, although.

My first shellfish reaction was to crabcakes, and it took two hours to hit. Then I felt it traveling down my GI tract.

I've had a few GI reactions to peanuts, and they are either twenty minutes or two hours later, and they typically involve diarrhea, and then I'm fine.

My anaphylactic shellfish reaction was as a result of cross contamination (my beef was cooked on a different surface per my request, but they used the same tongs as they used with the shrimp).

Two hours later I felt spacey. Then my stomach hurt. Then I had diarrhea a few times. I felt nauseated (new symptom) and started to throw up but didn't complete the task. But then my esophagus felt bad. I could not tell if this was an epipen moment. I keep a bottle of children's cherry benadryl at my desk (I was at work when this happened).

I developed a headache.

I ended up taking more benadryl and somehow drove to my town, an hour away. When my chest started hurting, I headed to the hospital and gave myself the epi.

The next day I developed uterine cramping. This and stomach cramping lasted for several days (I'd have to go back and look a the boards, but I believe it lasted for four days). My reaction happened on Thursday, and by the time it "came back" on Friday while I was at work, I was swamped, and I didn't call my doctor (I had called him earlier Friday morning to tell him I was fine--before things came back). And I had symptoms all weekend that were kept at bay with benadryl. And I talked with my doctor Monday.

Anyway, I would really like to know who else has similar symptoms with SFA.

It's hard to know when to use your Epi with GI symptoms w/o vomiting.

My minor reactions lately have involved feeling spacey first, a funny feeling in my GI tract (kind of burning), and a heavy feeling in my throat--like I used to get when I was a kid right before I was going to throw up. But I don't really feal nauseated. Benadryl takes care of these kinds of reactions. But for the biggies, it's hard to know when to use your Epi. And it's hard to know when a small when it becoming a big one.

With my son's peanut allergy, the symptoms are so different. It's a little more clear cut (not always). But it's different here.

Anyone else like this?

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2006 9:44 am 

Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:53 pm
Posts: 1454
Location: Canada
One of my friends has what sounds like a shellfish allergy and she gets gastrointestinal symptoms as well without hives or breathing problems---the last time she had a reaction she was vomiting for over 1/2 of an hour and then threw up again in the taxi on the way home. She also mentioned that she feels very hot.

I read somewhere that there is such a thing as gastrointestinal anaphylaxis and that it is more common with shellfish allergy---if it would be of use, I'm sure I could find the reference.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 15, 2006 2:29 pm 

Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2006 8:22 pm
Posts: 154
Location: Georgia

I have had GI allergies since I was a young child. However, my problem was not diagnosed as allergic gastroenteritis until I was 30. My symptoms were similar to IBS (bloody diarrhea, mucus, stomachache), but a very good Gastroenterologist listened to me when I told him, "I usually get sick when I eat out." He referred me to an Allergist after ruling out celiac disease and other GI problems.

My Allergist was one of the first Allergists in our area. (He was very good, and even used to make his own environmental vaccines.) He immediately recognized my symptoms as allergic gastroenteritis:
    runny nose (preceding diarrhea)
    diarrhea (usually before I could even get out of the restaurant)
    nausea and/or vomiting
    stomachache (lasting for several days)
    upper resp. congesting following a reaction

When he saw my IgE result, he was very suprised I had never had an anaphylactic reaction...yet. He performed the SPT testing the next day, and sent me home with a list of all the foods I was to avoid:
(These also happened to be most of my favorite foods.) This is called an elimination diet. You do this for 2 reasons. This first is to rule out any false-postives on the SPT. The second, is to allow your body to "outgrow" some of the allergies. Immediately the diarrhea was gone. Within one week, my stomachache was gone! My runny nose was better, and I did not feel nauseous all the time. Amazing that I had lived all these years with this, and these were the first 2 Doctors that believed me.
I took shots for dust mites, cat and plantain weed. My sinus infections dropped from 4-5 times a year, to less than 1-2 per year. I continued the shots until after the birth of my daughter. I was not sticking to the schedule properly (at this time, it was every 2 weeks). Then I had my first systemic reaction. I was sitting in the waiting room following my allergy shot and felt "funny," kind of anxious. Something was wrong. I went to tell the nurse and she took my blood pressure. It was ok, but the wheal on my arm where I had the shot was about the size of a quarter. They gave my an antihistamine and watched me for about 2 hours, with instructions to take more antihistamine at home, and call if there was any change. I went back in 2 weeks for the next shot; they dropped the dose a bit, and it was ok. Then, 2 weeks later, another systemic reaction. My BP was ok, but my heart was racing and palpitating. Very unsettling, as I had a 6 month old with me and my husband was out of town. Again, they gave me antihistamine and monitored me for a couple of hours. I was sent home with instructions to call a neighbor to stay with me. I tried one more time, and had a systemic reaction with the "uneasy feeling," heart palpitations, heart racing and arm swelling at the shot site. My chest also became tight. I had taken the environmental allergy shots for several year, so he decided it would be safest to discontinue them.
I was able to re-introduce beef, rice and corn into my diet, after about 5 years. Chicken still caused almost immediate GI symptoms, or at least a very bad stomachache. I ate eggs occasionally in baked goods, but not scrambled or boiled. I "cheated" with shrimp on occasion. After all, I had never had an anaphylactic reaction to seafood.

My old Allergist retired. I had a systemic reaction to a Red Wasp Sting in 2000. Fortunately, I realized the symptoms (dizziness, funny feeling, wooziness) and took an antihistamine. I asked my neighbor (whose husband has bee sting allergy) to drive me to the ER. After my neighbor finally convinced the ER receptionist I was having a reaction, I saw the Doctor and he gave me a shot of Benadryl, following by Epinephrine and steroids. I immediately felt "a breath of fresh air." Although I had not thought I was having any trouble breathing with this reaction, the Epi felt great for my chest. (I was a little hyper for about an hour, but otherwise completely recovered.)

Because my Allergist was retired, I went to a new Allergist. She tested me for wasp, bee, hornet etc...all negative (SPT). Then she tested me by RAST (foods and stinging insects). ALL NEGATIVE (I now know either something in my system was interfering, or the bloodwork was perhaps mixed with another patient!) But she discounted my food allergies and was not real certain of my wasp sting reaction. She did prescribe an Epi-pen, just in case. So I began to "cheat" on my food allergies, more and more. Big mistake!
My GI reactions came back some, but I thought I could "control" them, by not "cheating" too often. I stopped eating shrimp because of the diarrhea returning, but still went to Red Lobster with my husband and daughter. I would just have the salad and baked potato, warning them to take allergy precautions. After leaving Red Lobster twice in one week with major upper respiratory congestion and an "unsettled" feeling I realized I was having an allergic response. I took antihistamine after the second time, and it got better. No more Red Lobster for me!.
In the meantime, I found the Allergist that my old Allergist had turned his practice over to. About my age (mid 30's), and trained in school by my old guy. He believed some of the GI business, but said "true food allergies are rare." He advised that some people react to wasp stings but do show up negative on the bloodwork ---to act as if I am still allergic to wasp. (My neighbor with the bee sting allergy is also negative on his SPT and bloodwork, but has had MANY reactions that sent him to the ER...bee sting allergy confirmed.)
(I will skip my resp allergic reactions that put me in the hospital in 2002, for another time.)But following this, my allergies became inhalant to fish/shellfish. And my RAST tests showed positive for:
    several types of shellfish
    egg white

Just last year, I had reactions at our Parish Lenten fish fry (in there for 5 min), our favorite Mexican restaurant (no food yet, but shrimp and steak fajitas served behind us just after we came in) and at an outdoor venue "serving who know what" !

My current symptoms are: [/list]diarrhea or BM w/ cramps
aura (that "funny feeling where you just know something is wrong)
increased heart rate (almost immediately)
tight chest sometimes with a tight throat
shock setting in (very cold hands and feet) w/ drowsy or tired feeling

If I take Benadryl immediately, I will sometimes recover without in ER visit (especially for inhalant-only reactions). As you can imagine, I avoid all restaurants w/ seafood and I avoid the grocery store seafood section. I have been ok, except for minor reactions to inhalant fish/shellfish in my cafeteria at work and such. Each week, a new thing to avoid seems to come up. I would love to participate in Dr Burks shellfish study (like his peanut study). But I think I'll let someone else be the guinea pig first; I'm just too sensitive right now.

So sorry for the long post.

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