Sadly I can't suggest anything, but this is to let you know that you're being heard on this comm.
Thanks. Good to know I'm not talking to the air here.. :)
You're not talking to the air. It's just rather a quiet comm. You'd be welcome on friendly_crips
, which I own. I'm in food_allergies
because I have Irritable Bowel Syndrome and for a while, I wondered about allergy.
Interesting. Usually I hear food allergy people say, "I thought I had IBS but it turned out to be food allergies!" rather than the opposite.
Thanks! I will definitely join. I would say my corn allergy is probably severe enough to qualify as a disability considering that I react to airborne popcorn, traffic fumes (ethanol from corn), and other peoples' body products and laundry detergent.
Yes, it sounds that way. I'm no doctor though (well not the medical kind - my PhD was in another subject), anyway, some doctors have weird blind spots. Apparently IBS is notoriously under-believed.
My excellent GP tested me for coeliac, at my request, and of course it was a relief when the test came back negative. But then the GP referred me to a gastroenterologist and I politely declined that offer. I already knew that I have multiple sclerosis. I'd already been through a series of referrals to specialists who examined their speciality parts of my body before saying, 'You seem to have multiple sclerosis. How interesting! Keep coming back so that I can watch you.'
The person who helped most with sorting out my IBS was a dear friend who'd worked for years in wholefood retail. Thanks to her, I learned what to eat and not eat. A few years later another friend, who has MS like mine, mentioned bowel symptoms like mine. Then I googled IBS and found the National Health Service website about it, which reads as though it was written just for me. Oh the joy of having a name for what's wrong! No longer needing to describe it as just my personal weirdness, no longer apologising when I refuse the delicious-looking foods people offer. Most people have heard of IBS, most people know somebody with IBS, so the conversation can move easily to my clear statements of what I can and can't eat.
Oh I'm sorry, I've hijacked this thread which was meant to be about your allergy.
Actually the original post was about someone *else's* allergy, so it doesn't matter! My allergy, while severe and sensitive, is handled. Or at least as handled as it's going to be without a robot body. And I'm very interested to hear about your journey anyway. :)
So I know certain muscular conditions can cause reflux issues, does the MS actually cause the IBS, or are you just lucky enough to have both randomly?
Thank you for asking. I think my IBS is part of the unlovely MS. MS is known to affect the bowel but it's not well understood. My neuro and my specialist nurse have given practical advice.
Edited at 2013-05-10 04:57 am (UTC)
Would you say that you have Multiple Chemical Sensitivity? I've met a few people who say that they have that, but I don't know much about it.
Well, I *do* say I have MCS to people sometimes to help them understand how reactive I am to airborne stuff, but it isn't true.
It literally is just that corn is in so much, including disinfectants and fragrances and fuel. I don't react to all fragrances, just especially corny fragrances. The thing with a corn allergy is that it's not really a food allergy any more because corn isn't just a food now: it's a disinfectant, a preservative, a lubricant, an emulsifier, a thickener, a polymer, and more. But when you tell people that corn is in *everything*, they either don't believe you or they don't understand that you really do mean everything. My list of foods I can eat currently has 12 items on it, and while there are other food sensitivities at work here, most of that is because of corn.
How did you find out that it's all about corn?
I found out about the corn allergy through a scratch test where I tested positive for several food allergies. I found out it's all about corn by eliminating and having symptoms that had never been correlated with allergies or even perceived as symptoms including joint pain, heart palpitations, and difficulty concentrating disappear until corn was challenged. Challenging the other foods I tested positive for yielded no noticeable reactions.
The airborne stuff and the hypersensitivity is new though in the last 9 months. I had a good seven years of a "normal" food allergy, where I just had to not ingest corn or corn products, and I could even get away with some very broken down/diluted corn derivatives during that time. Then at the end of last summer my body started reacting to "safe" foods with angioedema and throat-closing, and life got really fun.
Mastocytosis, MTHFR mutations, EoE, FPIES, and other exotic diseases that mostly only children have have been posited. None have been confirmed. In some part, I haven't pursued it due to not being well enough/having to hold down a full time job. Also for many of those diagnoses there is no particular treatment other than avoidance, steroids, and antihistamines, which I am already doing. The MTHFR mutation is a simple blood test so I'll probably do that. Another problem is that I'm having a hard time finding specialists that want to work with me. The last immunologist I saw seemed to take me seriously, suggested that I have a mast cell disorder, and asked for me to come back in 3 weeks for testing and treatment., When I came back she ordered no tests, told me that she had searched a corn allergy on medline and hadn't found any evidence of such a thing, and told me to take over the counter Claritin, which contains corn starch, daily. If that didn't work she wanted to prescribe prednisone (contains corn starch unless made by a compounding pharmacy) and amitryptiline. Then she shook my hand and wished me "good luck," which I took to be a dismissal.
So I found an integrative GP and a naturopath. The GP gives me compounding scripts for whatever I need (since of the shelf meds almost all contain corn products) and the ND is doing accupuncture to help detox and helping me decide which foods to trial based on nutritional profile, since I am in very real danger of malnutrition. I will get back on the specialist train eventually and try to track down what is actually happening to me, but right now I need to *eat* and *live*.
So yeah sorry, that one-line question opened up a *can*. :D
I'm blogging about it at http://cornallergygirl.com
, however I don't really talk about the emotional aspects of the allergy or any of my thoughts on ableism and what it's like having an "invisible" chronic illness. It's just informational because I get the same questions over and over again on the corn allergy groups I participate in, and it's easier to link to a blog post than retype it. Edited at 2013-05-10 04:46 pm (UTC)
Your blog is interesting, and sobering. Makes me think 'there but for the grace, go I!' since I'm blessed with a lack of any known allergies.
Also it's interesting to me from a scientist's point of view. I write 'Science on the Land' on WordPress http://argylesock.wordpress.com/
I've never heard of anybody here in Britain being allergic or sensitive to corn (Zea mays, known here as maize). In fact you're the first corn-allergic person I've met. Perhaps people don't often mention it.
I'm intrigued to learn from the 'Beginner's Guide to Corn Free' that you link to, that allergens in Z. mays can be carbohydrates (sugars or starches) as well as proteins. Also to learn about how many products in the States are made from Z. mays. And the suggestion that people may react to genetically modified (GM aka genetically engineered, GE) Z. mays, specifically the Bt maize which produces insecticide.
On my science blog I write a 'Crop of the Month' series which hasn't yet featured Z. mays. Perhaps it should, one of these months. I've been gestating this idea for a while. When I do get around to writing that post I'll link to your corn blog.
Actually the corn allergy groups I'm a member of have a few British members actually, and a couple Aussies. Relatively few. 5-10 active members out of 50+ who post regularly.
Produce seems to be much less messed with there, and a number of derivatives that are always made from corn here are often made with wheat instead. (Of course that's a problem for a wheat allergy.) But it sounds like compounding pharmacies don't exist over there? Which makes finding corn free medications very very difficult. At least here while it costs me a million dollars, I can *get* them if I need them. Mostly. Some can't be compounded due to patents or whatever.
I'm actually not one of the most thorough resources on the allergy, though I'm actually struggling to be. There was a woman who ran a blog called Hidden Corn that detailed the corn allergy hazards about every kind of food. She somehow discovered that corn wasn't her problem (but I don't know what it was and I'm dying to know!) and took the blog down because she didn't want to be responsible for making sure that information was accurate and up to date. I am reconstructing some of it with the "Corn-tamination Series" posts, however I actually talked to the author and she's going to give me her old content, including the reference links, of which she had plenty. I'll probably be putting them up on a wiki type format instead of a blog.
I hope you'll announce those wikis on this comm, when they're ready.
I found out it's all about corn by eliminating and having symptoms that had never been correlated with allergies or even perceived as symptoms including joint pain, heart palpitations, and difficulty concentrating disappear until corn was challenged. Challenging the other foods I tested positive for yielded no noticeable reactions.
Substitute "wheat" and you have a good part of my story. (except for the "challenging the other foods yielded no reactions" part - I'm one of the lucky multiple allergy/sensitivity people.)
Oh, I'm pretty sure I have multiple sensitivities as well, just none of them are *quite* as bad as corn. Though sometimes it's hard to tell what is a new allergy and what is just corn again. I was positive I was anaphylactic to coconut for quite some time until other folks from the FB corn allergy group finally started reacting to the products I'd had issues with, and I realized that no, I'm fine with coconut unless it's contaminated with CORN. *sigh*
Confirmed second allergies are to kale and chard. Soy is a definite sensitivity but if it's IgE mediated, it doesn't *act* like it. Adverse reactions for sure, but only to consumption of whole soy products, not traces and not airborne. I am possibly allergic other veggies in the same families as kale and chard such as cabbages, broccoli, spinach, beets, and quinoa (which is related to spinach), but not positive on those as they could just have been corn-taminated. I also MAY be allergic to turkey and chicken, but again, could still be corn. NO IDEA.
Honestly though, just the corn allergy is enough for me. Too much, really. Traces of it are in so many things that I ended up eating two foods for 8 weeks because I couldn't find anything that didn't make my throat close up. And even those two foods gave me throat closing/tongue burning issues, so I had to eat small amounts often.
Oh I'm a celiac too, or at least very gluten intolerant. Never pursued a diagnosis for celiac. I have the gene though.
Edited at 2013-05-13 12:09 am (UTC)
Oops, didn't mean to make the above an "oh poor me" diatribe. I mostly don't feel that way. I'm just constantly mulling over my symptoms trying to figure out causes. It's a full time job really. :)
All the soy specific forums I've visited have been virtual ghost towns. Granted I haven't made the rounds in a number of years now (this is the only allergy community I still visit) but I doubt that's changed.
Sorry I can't be more helpful. I'm air and contact sensitive to soy but no longer react to trace amounts (there was a time when I did) so I understand your friend's situation.
It's all good, sort of a shot in the dark. :) What's up with the lack of active groups, man? I can only imagine that the incidence of soy allergies has increased in recent years, not decreased.
Could there be some kind of anti-racist complexity? There's soya in many Asian foods, and in many 'health' foods based on Asian foods. Nobody (well, nobody I respect!) wants to sound anti-Asian.
That never occurred to me. I'm soy sensitive and Asian. :D
I doubt it. More the myth that soy is healthy therefore, and if it's healthy therefore it must be good for you, so we will put it in everything. Because it's good for you. Well, not so much when you're allergic to it.
I see what you mean. How could tofu be a risky food? It's low in fat and it's a versatile ingredient!
Rather as people don't like to believe that a sandwich made from delicious, crusty wholemeal bread will give me several nights of insomnia. Even though I don't have coeliac disease! How could it be true that wheat makes me ill? For years I've been saying, 'Yes it's true, for some reason.' Then I learned that IBS often involves reacting badly to insoluble fibre, which is in wheat.
Haha, when I went vegan forever ago I ate a ton of edamame, tofu, tempeh, and miso. Because it's healthy, right? That's how I discovered my sensitivity- they all gave me horrific gastric/intolerance type symptoms, and threw my hormones *right* out of whack. Last year I thought maybe I was imagining it and it was all the gluten and corn (celiac on top of the corn allergy) so I introduced organic tofu. Horrible GI syptoms, and it made me skip periods. While on hormonal birth control.
Soy is the devil.
Question for you: What items cause airborne soy reactions for you? Corn is a far worse allergy for me than soy, and popcorn and corn chips are the worst. Corn chips are fine until someone starts eating them which gets dust everywhere, but popcorn will mess up a room for me for HOURS afterwards. But on full-bucket days I have also found that being in the bread section of a grocery store and handling a closed bag of bread that has corn flour or corn starch as an ingredient will sometimes give me a little asthma and lip burning.
And did you *do* anything to help yourself become less sensitive, or did healing just sort of happen through avoidance?
I've had airborne reactions to soy flour being baked and to soy-based insulation being sprayed. (The insulation was basically three straight months of hives, fun times.) I seem to (so far) be okay with people heating up tofu or edemame products in the microwave when I'm in the room.
I'm another IBS and allergies person. I spent about 15 years with my system being very overreactive (calming for brief periods but then acting up again) - I reacted to all sorts of things and I couldn't gain weight no matter how hard I tried. Patience and careful avoidance of everything my system was rejecting let my system heal and reset. I tried various dietary interventions and nutritional supplements, but other than the probiotic (which I still take religiously) I don't think any of them made any difference. Within the last year, I've been able to finally successfully gain (and keep on) weight and to add in many foods that I couldn't tolerate before. I still have multiple food allergies, and I still have IBS, but my system is a lot more tolerant than it used to be.
Ugh, insulation??! There's corn in lots of construction materials, gypsum (drywall) being the worst offender for that. There's probably corn in some kinds of insulation as well.I haven't looked into it yet but I'll need to eventually.
See, that's the kind of thing I was hoping to find a compendium of for my friend! She's sooooo sensitive right now, I think because her thryoid is out of whack. She's also allergic to corn, and her thyroid meds were corny. She was reacting to them way too much to continue, but her endo wouldn't give her a compounding script! I think she's got an appointment with a GP who will help her out to tide her over this week- he's treating a couple other special corn allergy cases in the area so he knows the drill.
I think gut healing is important for me to do as well however I'm a but flummoxed on how to do it. My body is just rejecting most things I've put into it, including probiotics. sigh.
Anyway thanks so much for sharing your story!!
i seriously thought the gut healing would never happen for me. every time i thought it did my system would go back to overreacting to everything. 15 years. and i still have flair-ups (and a laundry list of allergies/sensitivities, though it's shorter than it used to be.)
the only thing i can say is be patient and keep trying. your body will figure it out.
yeah, they were building a new addition where I worked and I had hives for 3 straight months. No clue why until I went on a tour of the new addition and they started waxing poetical about how they were using environmentally friendly spray insulation made from soybeans.
Yeah I sort of wince every time someone says "green," "earth-friendly", or "biodegradable." For me it means corn, but sounds like it also means soy! Arrrgh, awful! Sometimes I just want to dig out a bunker and never ever leave. Or lock myself in a glass bubble and learn to photosynthesize...