Do adults ever outgrow peanut allergy?


I've read the happy posts from members whose children have outgrown PA. Great news! It makes me wonder if adults ever do? Any chance that my adult-onset PA will disappear one day? (says me, hopefully)

On Sep 18, 2005

No such luck here. My PA started at age 27 and I am now 52.

I also am finding that my allergies are increasing....especially drug allergies.

On Sep 18, 2005

Oh no! I'm really sorry to hear that. Is your PA worse too? Does it take less to cause a reaction than before?

On Sep 19, 2005

Adele, my adult-onset allergies have definitely become more sensitive over the years.

My sister developed food allergies when she was in her forties. When he seasonal allergies seemed to clear up, she decided to try eating her food allergens. And has not had any reactions. (However, she has not gone back to the doctor to have them retested.)

Some differences between her and I - my reactions are almost instant, hers are delayed (sometimes a day or to after eating the allergen) - my reactions are life threatening, hers were hives - I have two allergies, she had more then I can count - I try to be very careful to avoid my allergens, she ate some of them in small doses.

So, I guess there is hope. Personally, I've given up hoping. I used to get so depressed when I would think "wow, no reaction since XXXX, maybe they're all gone". Then, BAM I'd get hit with one again. I can live with the allergies - it was the hope that was killing me. [img][/img]

On Sep 19, 2005

" I can live with the allergies - it was the hope that was killing me. " (Annamarie's quote)

Good thing to remember. Thanks.

[This message has been edited by Adele (edited September 19, 2005).]

On Sep 20, 2005

Thanks for raising this topic, Adele - I've been wondering this too for a while.

I haven't had any reaction for over 18 months (since ana reactions started just over 2 years ago), and in the back of my mind I'm wondering if I might be lucky, too. Blood tests this summer were negative, but then they were negative even when I was definitely reacting to trace amounts. Allergist wants me to do a food challenge, but I'm still too terrified to commit myself.

So for me the hope is definitely there, but in moderated amounts, meaning I guess that I'm realistic and figure I have a less than 50% chance of this actually being true. Significantly less. [img][/img]

Incidentally, I asked my allergist this question at my last appointment, and she said the only data available was for children outgrowing the allergy. She didn't know of any parallel research into percentages of adult on-sets who might have outgrown the PA.

I do figure, though, that the longer I go without a reaction, the more likely I might be to outgrow it. Not sure if this is true, but it's what I've managed to convince myself of. [img][/img]

On Sep 20, 2005

Andromeda, thanks for your information.

Do you mind if I ask you a few questions? When were you diagnosed with PA? What caused your last reaction and what happened? Have you changed your safety zone since then? I hope you find out that you no longer have PA. Wouldn't that be great!

Many thanks, Adele

[This message has been edited by Adele (edited September 20, 2005).]

On Sep 20, 2005

Hi Adele,

The dates are all a little fuzzy for me, but I'll do my best to remember...and sorry this is soooooo long!

I was never officially diagnosed, I just figured it out for myself eventually after about a dozen reactions of increasing severity, all occuring after eating peanuts or peanut-contaminated products. I'd never known anyone with a peanut allergy (or any food allergy, for that matter), so this was all very new to me; I had no idea that reactions would continue to get more severe with subsequent exposures. So I didn't avoid peanuts/products at all at first; I would just sense some breathing troubles, maybe some slight tongue and throat swelling, think to myself 'this is weird', take a benadryl, and that was that.

It started to click for me around May 2003 that something was really wrong when I felt the breathing and swelling issues after my boyfriend had eaten peanuts and given me a quick kiss on the lips. I myself had not eaten any of the nuts. Still no 'ana' reactions I don't think, though - just slight internal swelling, and increasing mental concern.

First believed ana reaction prompted my first E.R. visit August 2003 when the breathing troubles were increasingly worrisome and accompanied by very strong intestinal discomfort (to put it nicely). This visit brought my first epi-pen prescription; I think the reaction was brought on again by a quick kiss on the lips after BF had eaten lunch at a Thai restaurant. (Though mind you this was several hours later when I got home from work.)

That was when it really clicked that we both needed to avoid all peanut and peanut-contaminated products. Skin and blood tests were all negative, but I knew absolutely it was PA. Since that time, I've had a few additional reactions - once to some meat-substitute product in a restaurant (before I knew to check with staff on all ingredients), once with BF eating pn-contaminated ice cream, and most recently (March 2004) to touching my fingers to my lips at work without being neurotic about washing the residue off first. This last reaction was accompanied immediately by shivers down the throat, swelling tongue and throat, and intestinal woes again (which lasted about 30 minutes). I've never had hives as a symptom - everything is/was internal.

At that point I had discovered this website and thanks to all the amazing info here, was able to stick to a peanut-free diet and know to never touch my face or food without washing hands immediately prior to doing so. In this my comfort zone has not changed at all since then; I'm still quite neurotic about washing my hands right before touching any food, and making sure BF hasn't eaten any questionable foods that day. I still ask about ingredients and contamination issues when I go to restaurants; I still steer very clear of any 'may contain' or 'manufactured in a shared facility' items in the food store. Sometimes I find myself wondering if it's all necessary, but until I find out it *isn't* necessary, I'll stick to it.

The anxiety is still with me for sure; restaurants and air travel are the worst. So I still carry on as if my life depended on it, and I'll continue to do so until a doctor's visit proves otherwise. Or the next reaction reminds me how important it is to be prepared!

Whew. Hope that helped! [img][/img]

On Sep 20, 2005

Thanks Andromeda. Like you, my reactions are all internal....but I'd rather have hives. At least you can itch in public.

I realize we all have different sorts of reactions and different levels of sensitivity, but it helps me to know how PA affects others...and if or how it progresses. Many thanks, Adele

On Sep 20, 2005

I agree, I'd rather have hives, too. That way I would instantly know it was a reaction and take steps, as opposed to wondering if it's a reaction, and 'waiting to see.' From this board I've learned how dangerous that waiting can be.

On Sep 21, 2005

Hi Andromeda, A dead giveaway for me is bladder and or uterine cramping in addition to the nausea, etc. (but I don't get it every time I have a reaction)

It was a EUREKA moment when I found this listed on a web site: ........................ "Anaphylaxis is a "systemic reaction," which means that various organ systems are affected, including the skin, upper and lower respiratory tracts, cardiovascular system, eyes, [b] uterus and bladder.[/b] Symptoms of anaphylaxis can include nausea and vomiting, abdominal cramps, hives, swelling of tissues in the lips or joints, diarrhea, itchy skin, severe anxiety or headache, sneezing and coughing, shortness of breath and wheezing. The eyes may itch, water and swell. Additional symptoms include an itchy mouth and throat, hoarseness, nasal congestion, chest pain and tightness, a feeling of warmth and flushing, redness of the skin, [b] cramping of the uterus, or the feeling of having to urinate.[/b] The most dangerous symptoms are low blood pressure, breathing difficulties, shock and loss of consciousness, all of which can be fatal." ............................................ It explains so many times (prior to knowing I had PA) when I was miserable with bladder cramping and nausea or low backache and nausea....of course, always after eating PN products. I can remember this happening 2 or 3 years before finally having anaphylaxis and being diagnosed. How in the world I didn't kill myself while on camping trips, etc. is beyond me.

The bladder/uterine symptoms aren't on most lists. Thought I'd mention it to you and post it here in case you or others also experience this but don't connect the symptoms to a reaction.

[This message has been edited by Adele (edited September 21, 2005).]

On Sep 21, 2005

Wow - I think that's the most comprehensive list of possible anaphylactic reaction symptoms that I've ever seen (not that I've seen that many [img][/img] ). But it helps to reinforce the idea that a reaction can be so many different things in different people. Fortunately I think I've only experienced a few of those listed; I can't even begin to comprehend how frightening it would be to experience them all. Thanks, Adele!

Oops - Edited to say - the 'giveaway' for me to know when I'm having a reaction is the severe diarrhea I get. Not a pleasant thought, but then, not a pleasant experience, either!

[This message has been edited by andromeda (edited September 21, 2005).]

On Sep 21, 2005

Ditto on that too Andromeda. Pretty awful.

On Nov 28, 2005

I have always had PA and tree nut allergies and am now 37. My allergy has only gotten worse over time.

When I was younger, I could eat plain m&ms with no problems. Now, I can't even hold them in my hand without my hand swelling up.

The moment I smell peanuts, my throat starts to close and my mouth itches like crazy. If it gets close to my face, my lips swell up really fast and big and my throat closes even more.

When my son was 5, he had a peanut butter sandwich. He washed his hands afterwards. Later, I went to wash my face and used the same towel he had dried his hands on. My face immediately swelled up and my throat closed. I had to use my epi-pen and ended up in the er.

I have only ingested anything once and I had the severe cramping along with all of the other symptoms.

On Nov 30, 2005

I am a 43 and TNA, having had the allergy since I was a child. I only got tested and got an epi about three years ago however. I wish my parents were more like the parents on this board. I luckily have not had a reaction in several years so don't know if it is worse. Outgrowing it is still a dream of mine!