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Becoming Allergic/Intolerant To So Many Things

rebzamy Member Posts: 49
edited September 2021 in Recipe Swap for Healthy Living

I always had stomach issues from as far back as I can remember. In around 2003 eventually a doctor found inflammation inside me and said he thought I may have a mild form of Crohns Disease and to come off wheat and dairy. I did and found that it was definitely dairy that was the problem and I was so much better once I came off it.

Fast forward to after chemo in 2007, I started having problems again and this time I was told to come off gluten/wheat, which I did and again, symptoms cleared up.

Fast forward to today, the list has increased from: Dairy, Gluten/Wheat, to include: Corn, Oats, Red Wine, Beef!

I'm just wondering what on earth is going on with my body. I have days (when I eat a small amount of the bad foods) and feel absolutely dreadful for a couple of days and then wonder why I did that to myself.) Or I had days when I didn't know what food was causing the problem and was just so ill, but now I know which foods they are, this has obviously helped. The temptation is so strong sometimes though and is so frustrating that sometimes I do eat what I shouldn't and then I'm so ill after.

Anybody else have problems like this? I'm due to have a whole load of blood tests to check what's going on inside me and inflammation levels but I bet they don't find anything. I've had a Celiac test 2 or 3 times and nothing was found. Thanks for listening.


  • GG27
    GG27 Member Posts: 1,308

    Yes, my list of intolerant foods was getting longer & longer. Then there would be days that I wouldn't have anything that should have caused problems & I was still ill.

    I just had a colonoscopy which my surgeon says should be the first step in figuring this out. He prescribed a "low fodmap" diet which I didn't like the look of. And then he suggested I try a daily probiotic. I started with 30 days of a 30billion probiotic & I am able to eat quite a few things which were off the list. I ran out a few days ago & decided to see how it went, I went back on them 3 days later after having problems again. He thinks it may be mild IBS which the probiotic is helping with. Don't know if it's from the Tamox/Arimidex or what. HTH, GG

  • moni731
    moni731 Member Posts: 212

    RebzAmy- I'm in your boat! Had the same thing happen. Growing up, I was dx'd with lactose intolerance at 1 yr,with environmental allergies (hayfever). As I grew up, I picked up a few more, and developed asthma and what I suspected was mild IBS. With chemo, my body went absolutely crazy! Reacted to everything! All the chemo drugs, bees and wasps, Herceptin, antibiotics, food (wheat, peanuts, chashews), flu shot, TB test, bandaids, plastics and every living plant in my environment. Even fillings from the dentist would cause bronchospasm and wheezing (resins)! Everything would cause a rash or worse. I gave up listing allergies for medical people and went with 'everything'. Asthma went to severe, and had anaphylaxis repeatedly.

    Fast forward 4 years and things are some better. Now I just tell them I do not know what is going to do anything, guess we'll see. I always take an epi-pen and benadryl. To this day, the medical people will not admit that the chemo was the culprit, but nothing else was different. My allergist says I am the most allergic person he has treated. I was offered a new treatment called 'Xolair' which is another monoclonal antibody (like Herceptin) and I was too afraid to try it. Maybe in the future, Idk. It just feels pretty good to have some down time.

    I went to a vegetarian diet, no lactose, gluten free and that seems to be helping. Never got the taste or texture for meat back, so that was easy.

    I just wish some of this was talked about before the chemo. I was given very little side effect information before, mostly about NVD, and that was downplayed with 'we have meds for that'. Well, not for me, didn't work. I lost 100 lbs (fortunately had some room, haha!) and have gained 30 back. Hmmm, can stop now.

    Thanks for listening and starting this thread. There was another along these lines, but I guess it has become dormant. I wish the best for you and recovery!

  • Momine
    Momine Member Posts: 2,845

    Chemo and other treatments (antibiotics) can mess with your gut. I second the probiotics. I took them all through chemo and still take them. I also started eating way more fiber.

  • Charlottesmommy
    Charlottesmommy Member Posts: 8

    I follow the low fodmap diet, after being diagnosed lactose intolerance, noticing that a couple of the categories definitely cause problems for me. I use it as a guide, it is a low fodmap, not no fodmap. Probiotics also help quite a bit.

  • bobogirl
    bobogirl Member Posts: 2,083

    Hi Rebzamy, I am in your boat. Diagnosed with IBS years ago, then found I had other allergies (through elimination diet). I don't eat any dairy: highly allergic to that. Then I became reactive to red wine (when before, in college, I could drink plenty of red wine with no reaction).

    Then, in the past two years (and six or eight surgeries, horrible infections, etc) I have become highly reactive to other things I'd never reacted to before. I cut out gluten, and that has helped. I tried to be moderate about it -- I didn't want to cut out another thing for 'no reason' -- but when I added some back, I really suffered for it.

    Wanted to speak to the celiac issue. I'm no expert, but I've read that if you aren't ingesting a certain amount of gluten during the time of testing, the test can come out negative. And -- did you know that you've got to look for 'gluten-free oats'? It turns out that many types of oatmeal contain gluten. Here's another one I didn't know -- don't buy your grains in bulk. Apparently bulk items can become contaminated easily.

    I just wanted you to know I am on your side, or whatever other metaphor applies). I suspect the mega- mega- doses of antibiotics I was subjected to for the past year have contributed to my allergies.

  • cowgal
    cowgal Member Posts: 625

    I have been trying to figure out what is going on in my body for a long time now. I have problems with inflammation in my legs and feet and abdominal bloating. My inflammation does not go down at night and it might get better for a little bit and then show up again and last for an extended amount of time. My general practitioner tried many things and couldn't figure it out and sent me on to a cardiologist. I had a stress test and echocardiogram that came back normal. My cardiologist told me that I need to go to an allergist. I made an appointment with an allergist but can't get in until June. Meanwhile, I am also seeing an orthopedic surgeon as I will be needing both knees replaced. I asked my general practitioner if the swelling could be caused by my knee problems and he said no. I just wondered if anyone else had experienced anything similar and was able to get it figured out? I hate being swollen all the time but get frustrated that I am unable to get this diagnosed. It sure seems that going through breast cancer and it's treatment puts our bodies out of whack.

  • scvmom65
    scvmom65 Member Posts: 16

    I didn't have chemo but was on Tamox for almost two years before being pulled off due to ovarian cysts. I started having allergies to everything about a year and a half on Tamox. Started with foods so I cut out wheat and dairy but was still having issues. I went to a allergist (md) who said I wasn't allergic to any foods but I would have asthma like symptoms,headaches or pain after eating things. I went to a naturopath doctor who tested me for food sensitivies and that really helped. Found out ALL the things my body was sensitive to, all dyes and preservatives on top of almost all grains and milk products. Gave up all those things and after 3 weeks things got better but still not back to normal. Once I got rid of the foods, I started realizing that I was also having reactions to products I was putting on my body and anything with fragrances in it. Initially I just went cold turkey - went on the Cosmetic Safety Database and found the least toxic, preservative free, fragrance free body wash, shampoo, conditioner, wore NO makeup and took off my acrylic nails. After a few weeks I was back to 100 percent! Since then I have added back some makeup, now that my body is back to normal, I get a reaction within the day to something if my body doesn't like it. Not fun for any of us but I figure this is the body I was given and if I want to stay alive I have to work with it.


  • cowgal
    cowgal Member Posts: 625

    I didn't have chemo either but I was on tamoxifen for a little over a year before I had to have an oopherectomy because of it and was switched to AIs. What type of test did the naturopath doctor do? Was it some sort of an elimination diet? I have given up all grains and dairy right now trying to see if that helps. So far I am not sure of any of it.

  • scvmom65
    scvmom65 Member Posts: 16

    Hi cowgal,

    He did a biomeridian test on me. I will be honest, I first thought it was a bunch of bs - I even told the doctor that. But he wasn't trying to sell me any supplements or anything and he just told me what harm would it do to eliminate the things I was sensitive to for a few weeks. Well, in 3 weeks my life was completely different, no more headaches, nasal problems, or bathroom issues. I had given up dairy and gluten before too and not seen any difference but I think it was because I was still eating other things I didn't know that my body was sensitive too like pineapple, oats, dyes, preservatives and a few other misc. veggies. Hope this helps! Most drs in the LA area charge around 100 for the test so for me it was worth it then to keep playing food detective.


  • cowgal
    cowgal Member Posts: 625

    Thanks Anna. I'm in a pretty rural area, I'll have to see if I can find someone that does that test.

  • AlaskaAngel
    AlaskaAngel Member Posts: 694

    Hi cowgirl, rural here too. My treatment was done here, but I went to Seattle to a major cancer center for the analysis and recommendations.

    Starting at age 52 I was on full dose tamoxifen for 1 year and then 3/4 year at half-dose before stopping it due to loss of gender and painful VA. Chose not to start any AI.

    I didn't have much in the way of allergic reactions until about 2 years ago. Then literally overnight I developed urticaria that has never gone entirely away. Inflammation is such a biggie to avoid in terms of cancer, and itching is a major indicator of inflammation. It got quite severe, with the rash that had been confined to a limited part of the trunk spreading fast. At first my doctor just had me applying hospital-brand type moisturizers and using less-drying soaps because cancer treatment resulted in faster aging. The urticaria and rash continued to worsen so eventually I saw a derm doc in California and very reluctantly but desperately used skin application steroids for a month, and that calmed down the severe itching and rash, but it never went away.

    I never used cosmetics, so no change there. I like foods with tomatoes very much, but it does help some for me not to eat them. I use stevia instead of sugar although that is more for weight control. Basically my life has changed from enjoyment of gender, exercise, food and many interests to one of being genderless and constant effort with diet and exercise. The accelerated aging with no advance counseling to help in making a more educated decisions about treatment is a bummer. I especially find seeing most oncologists useless for addressing these kinds of problems because their nursing staff are pre or perimenopausal and truly clueless about accelerated aging problems that contribute to inflammation and cancer recurrence.

  • pasmithx2
    pasmithx2 Member Posts: 224

    I finished chemo (TCH) in July 2011. During chemo, I had horrible D after each and every dose. It eventually settled down, but I don't think my gut has ever been the same, even 4 years post-chemo. In Aug 2014, a GI told me that my colonoscopy showed a "small area of mild inflammation" in the small intestine and he declared it to be Crohn's that needed immediate treatment. He put me on Pentasa, that seemed to change nothing, but then my hemoglobin started to drop. My Hgb never dropped out of the normal range all through chemo and suddenly I was anemic. The GI waves me off every time I ask if this could be a persistent aftereffect of the chemo. "No," he says, "chemo doesn't do that." Really?! I was fine before chemo. I am now following the Single Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) in the hopes of resetting my gut flora and hopefully allowing my innards to fully heal. It is a tough diet, but it's already making a difference. Only time--and another colonoscopy--will tell.

  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Member Posts: 1

    Hey everyone!

    My name is Ashleigh and I am a member of Rice University's OwlSpark accelerator program. I was going through different cancer blogs and I came across this post. I am currently working on a project concerning nutrition and cancer and I would love to know more about managing your diet.

    If you would be willing, I would love to speak with you more in detail. Feel free to respond to this post or message me!

  • wallycat
    wallycat Member Posts: 1,315

    I had allergies (strawberries and eggs) as a kid, but grew out of everything. Fast forward in my mid 40s, I developed Birch pollen allergies. OH DEAR. This is a very horrible pollen that cross reacts with tons of fruits and vegetables. It is called OAS (oral allergy syndrome) and I can't eat apples, pitted fruit (cherries, plums, etc.), almonds. There are a lot of veggies but I don't seem to have a problem with them. A few years later, I got my cancer diagnosis...maybe my immune system was trying to fight it...who knows.

    If you find you are having a lot of meat allergies, it may be due to a specific tick bite.

    I also have very mild IBS. My twin has had no cancer (has had pre-cancer in her breast) and has had IBS-D since we were young girls. She suffers terribly from it. Breaks my heart.

  • Jackie53
    Jackie53 Member Posts: 1

    I am having the same issues. I am almost 3 years out from chemotherapy with my last treatment on August 5, 2015. I am finding that I am allergic to ice cream and I have become allergic to cheese. I never had this problem before chemotherapy. I am also becoming quite ill from soaps - bar soaps, dish washing detergent, laundry soap, shampoo, cleaning agents and my husband's deodorant. This has been slowly coming on over the past year. It seems that the further I am out from my last chemotherapy treatment, the more reactions I have. I told my husband this evening that a year ago, I only had to shave my legs every couple of weeks and this has changed, too. This past week, I am not back to my normal shaving routine of three times a week. I can't believe that it is a coincidence that the further I am out from my last treatment, the more allergies I am developing. I think it has to do with my chemotherapy leaving my body. Now that the chemicals are finally getting out of my system, I think my body is rejecting all chemicals now because it was battered so badly. I don't have any proof of this. I am just seeing a pattern.

    I have had to switch to plant based laundry soap, dish washing liquid, hand and body soap. My shampoo is a children's shampoo from Tom's of Maine. I got very ill over the past weekend from eating ice cream and I read that the ice cream I ate had added alkali to the chocolate. My mind has been brainstorming. I tried two different types of natural bar soaps - olive oil and a goat's milk soap that is supposed to be all natural ingredients but I learned that in order to take animal fats and liquids and convert them to a solid, that these liquids have to be saponified. This means that a strong alkali has to be added to convert the animal fats and liquids into a solid bar soap. I am only guessing but with alkali added to chocolate to reduce the bitterness of the chocolate in the ice cream, I think I am reacting to the saponification process used in "natural soaps" I think I am putting two and two together.

    But it doesn't end here for me. I am also not able to tolerate Chinese food anymore and I would eat it easily before this past year. I am also getting sick from women's perfumes. I can't tolerate my husband's deodorant or shaving cream. He had to quit wearing deodorant on the week-ends because I got so ill. He switched to a much more expensive shaving cream that I can tolerate. I can only use vinegar and water to clean with. Any other cleaning agent, makes me very ill. I get an awful headache and it burns my mucous membranes. I have to wear a chemical mask when I go into women's restrooms because I can't handle cleaning agents that are used - especially anything with ammonia in it.

    I have always been sensitive to dust and cleaning agents but I never reacted like this.

    The only thing I know to do right now with regard to food, is to eat pure foods.This means no processed foods. I will be cooking from scratch. No more ice cream, or deli meat or foods that have any chemical additives. I could be wrong with my thinking but after my reaction to my favorite ice cream over the week-end, it means to me that my body can't handle the added chemicals in foods. Because I reacted so badly to burning candles two weeks ago, I am seeing some consistencies and that appears to be the added alkali in the saponification process and possibly the added alkali in chocolate ice cream. To play it safe, though, I am cutting out dairy altogether because of the added chemicals and no more processed foods as well because of the added chemicals.

    My reactions to the soaps and the ice cream and cheese is an awful headache, burning sinus area, burning mouth, nose and tongue and awful nausea. Once I replaced the soaps with plant based ingredients, I am not having these reactions.

    I hope that I have helped someone else with these similar issues. The only thing I know to do is to stay away from chemicals as much as I can.

  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 8,233

    Dear Jackie53,

    We are sorry that you are having all of these issues but we are grateful that you reached out to our members. Please let us know if there is anything we can do to help you to navigate your way around the community. The Mods

  • mountainmia
    mountainmia Member Posts: 857

    Bumping to ask about other people's experiences. Two years post-chemo (adriamycin & cytoxan) I am having digestive problems that might be food sensitivities. Headed to a fructose breath test on Tuesday morning to move toward diagnosis.