General chatter - Anyone experience food allergy anaphylaxis?




ars
08-29-2010, 11:43 PM
Warning: If vomiting makes you squeamish, don't read.

I had an episode yesterday, and I'm wondering if there are any other folks on these boards who suffer food allergies. For a long time now, I have suffered a crampy stomach after eating Nestle chocolate (Nestle specifically, no other chocolate does this to me). I avoid it routinely, but occasionally will have chocolate items of unknown origin (cookies, cake, etc.) out somewhere and deal with the upset stomach (if it happens) by taking Pepcid or TUMs to quiet it down. Nestle is always found out to be the culprit when I ask.

Yesterday, I was at a work party, and I ate a homemade ice cream sandwich. It was loaded with chocolate chips, and I kept thinking that I should ask if it was Nestle, but I didn't.

About 15 minutes after eating the sandwich, I started to get stomach cramps, and I got really warm. I went outside to get air and sit in the cool grass. I was listening to people talk, and they started to sound really far away, my skin got clammy and I got cold, my peripheral vision went black. I got up and went in the house to tell them I was not felling well. My vision was getting even blacker. I ended up sitting in the hall outside the bathroom trying as hard as I could not to lose consciousness because I had this terrible feeling that if I did, I would die. Finally, just when I couldn't hold on to consciousness any longer, I vomited. Serious projectile vomit. On my boss's carpet. On the wall. Oddly, the only thing in it was the chocolate, my dinner stayed down. I immediately felt better after vomiting and was able to get up within a few minutes (and take some TUMs with Pepcid added). My stomach remained cramped for a couple more hours, easing slowly. It turned out that it was Nestle chocolate used in the sandwich.

Thankfully, there were 4 doctors (animal) and a med student (human) on hand at the party (and an Epi-pen which wasn't used), so this was the best possible situation to have this reaction in. My signs were low blood pressure, stomach cramping, nausea, vomiting, and death anxiety within 15-20 minutes of ingestion. Now these are all most definitely associated with anaphylaxis, but I didn't experience rapid pulse, hives or itching, and I never experienced any respiratory distress. I do know I forced myself to take steady deep breathes and I tried very hard to remain calm and not panic (I meditate in my every day life), so this might have helped keep my heart rate steady.

I'm not looking for a diagnosis here, but I am wondering if anyone else has experienced an anaphylactic reaction like this before (without the respiratory distress)? If you have, have you experienced a second reaction where breathing was affected? I want to talk to my doctor about getting an Epi-pen, but from what I have researched, it is very difficult to get diagnosed with a food allergy that is so non-specific (it's not like it's peanuts or shellfish or tree nuts or bee stings, this is a brand of chocolate with multiple ingredients). I guess I just want to know I'm not alone.


Natasha1534
08-29-2010, 11:57 PM
An epi pen isn't going to treat the symptoms you're having except for the hypotension (low BP) and, maybe, the death anxiety (sign of shock). It's not going to help w/ the nausea and vomiting or the stomach cramping. Also, epi pens are not exactly pleasant to use...depending on your pain tolerance they can be pretty painful.

I started having reactions to shrimp in my mid-20s. I have eaten shrimp all my life and never had a problem until then. It started w/ a strange feeling in my throat when I would eat shrimp. It would be a dull kind of pain in my throat and a feeling like my throat was closing up, but I never had any trouble breathing. It was also only maybe 1 time out of 10 times that I consumed shrimp. Now it seems that my sensitivity is getting worse when I prepare shrimp instead of consuming it. I often have to walk away if I'm cooking shrimp and go sit in the other room and have someone else finish preparing it. I have difficulty breathing and become very pale and sweaty. It's something I've been putting off talking to my doctor about for a while but it's gotten to the point now where I'm going to need to speak to him about it and look into having an epi pen prescribed just in case. Oddly enough, it's only shrimp...I have no problems w/ lobster, crab, or any other shellfish. *shrugs*

As for having no difficulty breathing and then later reactions involvings difficulty breathing, allergic reactions tend to get worse the more you experience them. What may start as a small reaction will get worse and worse the more you're exposed to the trigger and, in time, your reaction will also get worse.

Definitely speak to your doctor about it. There's something going on that needs to be addressed, no doubt.