Does anyone get ONLY gastrointestinal reaction? - Peanut Allergy Information

Does anyone get ONLY gastrointestinal reaction?

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I've asked this question before but there are some new adult PA members.

I'm curious if any of you have PA reactions that are ONLY gastrointestinal?

On Dec 14, 2005

Hi, To my knowledge, I have never had any kind of gastro-intestinal reaction to pn...I have had three reactions ever, two with big swollen eyes, one rash.

However, I do know someone who says she gets only gastro intestinal symptoms when she eats peanuts - they make her very ill but she doesn't get rashes etc...however, she is not someone I know very well and also, she doesn't consider herself 'allergic' as she wouldn't avoid peanuts in the manner that the folks around here would...

I know that's not much info but thought i would contribute anyway...


[This message has been edited by MichelleR (edited December 14, 2005).]

On Dec 14, 2005


I got back from my allergist's office tonight--to see about that shellfish allergy I mentioned in my email that I have also only had GI reactions with. I talked with him more about PN reactions being GI except for the one several weeks ago where I had a rash on my neck, my fingers swelled up, and my head and face felt itchy all over. But aside from that, every one has been GI. And now all the shellfish ones have been, too.

I went in for testing, and here's what he said: he thinks a skin test might give us a false negative, since my reactions really don't involve the skin. And he said it's too close to the reaction I had last week to do a skin test, anyway--even if he wanted to do one.

I'm getting an ImmunoCap test on Monday, and that will include peanuts, which I'm glad about because I've only had a skin test on it, and I'm dying to know my real number there, too. He said with GI reactions like this, I need an ImmunoCap for an accurate result.

An aside--he offered out some hope that the shellfish thing could simply be an intolerance and not an allergy, but we'll know after Christmas when we get the results. I'll let you know--and I'll post my PN ige.

On Dec 14, 2005


My son is allergic to peanuts, milk, soy, oats, tree nuts, fish, and tomatoes.

He's eaten everything on that list besides peanuts and tree nuts, those will give him an anaphylactic reaction.

The milk gives him GI symptoms of cramps, vomiting, gas and once in awhile a headache. So there are some people here who are anaphylactic to milk. I asked the allergist and he said [b]it is possible that sooner or later your son will be anaphylactic to milk, you just never know when[/b]

So maybe GI today is anaphylactic next month.


On Dec 15, 2005

I have had this issues in the past before we found out DS is allergic. I am not allergic but can't eat very many at all (whole nuts).

On Dec 15, 2005

My peanut-allergic son's PA classmate's only symptom when she eats peanuts is diarrhea. So having only gastrointestinal symptoms is certainly possible. Although I'd bet that with continued exposure, other symptoms would develop.


On Dec 15, 2005

Thanks for everyone's feedback.

After the last allergist's visit, I did some googling and found out about something called gastrointestinal anaphylaxis. I also learned that many people with GI symptoms only, have a negative skin test. Intolerance can also cause only GI symptoms.

Then there's the info I found on FAAN's web site: "Can you have anaphylactic shock with only gastrointestinal symptoms? Yes, you can have anaphylaxis with only gastrointestinal symptoms. The term shock refers to a drop in blood pressure, especially if there has been severe vomiting or diarrhea."

And I found this elsewhere:

"Immediate gastrointestinal (GI) hypersensitivity: includes peanut allergy; manifests as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea within approximately 2 hr of eating offending food; IgE mediated, so RAST and skin testing helpful; mechanism involves release of histamine from mast cells; non-GI as well as GI symptoms; anaphylaxis possible; involves 2 classes of products, those whose ability to cause sensitivity decreases as child gets older (eg, milk, soy, and wheat) and those to which sensitivity never lost (eg, peanuts, tree nuts, seafood; do not rechallenge) "

I guess I'm just trying to find out where I fit in the scheme of things as this could help me understand future reactions. I've had two skin tests - both positive....a 4 or 5 on the last test. I've also had bladder/uterine contractions, both smooth muscle and not GI, and I have asthma. So I still haven't found the answer to my question..... (can PA kill me?)

McCobbre, I hope the RAST testing gives you some answers.

On Jan 8, 2006

Adele I have only ever had GI reactions to P/Ns but I honestly believe that even if you only have GI reaction from PA you could die. Why I say this is because you could inhale vomit into you lungs causing you to choke. In Australia, a Sydney boy died about 3 years ago. He had only previously had GI reactions which changed to anaphylaxis just one deadly time. I have noticed in the past few years (although I haven't had one many years) have changed, now notice asthma, skin problems and vomiting so violent I've burst blood vessals in my eyes. So that's my six cents worth.

On Jan 12, 2006

Adele- please see my post under the Main Discussion board entitle "Please help my ds". My ds has severe asthma as well.

On Jan 19, 2006

I'm posting this about a reaction I had today--it's not a peanut reaction but a shellfish one. But I had to use an Epipen, and it was gastrointestinal, and my peanut and shellfish reactions have been GI. And this was from cross contamination at a restaurant.

I ate the same thing I did Tuesday at a work-related restautrant. It's one I can't avoid for my job. I usually have 1-2 lunch meetings there a week. They put shrimp on top of everything. On Tuesday when I ate there I told the waiter I had a shellfish allergy and told him what I wanted to order but asked him to ask the chef what would be safe to order for someone with a shellfish allergy. I told him that I could not risk cross contamination. He came back and said the chef would prepare what I wanted in a separate place--not on the grill but in a separate pan that not had shrimp in it, separate utensils, etc. Let me say that my cross contamination reactions that I've had in the last six months after working where I do have involved a runny nose.

But Tuesday worked beautifully. So today during my lunch meeting, I notified the waiter I was highly allergic to shellfish and that the chef needed to prepare my food in a separate place in a dedicated pan with dedidcated utensils (basically parroted back what was said to me Tuesday). All was fine. I ordered the exact same thing I did Tuesday: carne asada. It's deLISH, and with DS being a vegetarian now, I like to know I'm getting my protein (recent bloodwork showed I don't get enough--even before DS' vegetarianism). So, "carne" is attractive to me away from home!

Two hours later I started to feel bad and my stomach started hurting. I started feeling like I do when I've had peanuts or when I've had cross contaminated things fried in the same thing shrimp has been fried in. I swallowed about 50 mg. of liquid benadryl. I had the big D a few times. I started to throw up (new for me)but didn't, and so now my esophagus started feeling bad. And benadryl didn't stop that.

I was at work working on a really important project that was past due in many ways, and I was beginning to think wonder if benadryl would do the trick with this reaction. It's so hard to know sometimes. It's just not clear cut. My first reaction to crabcakes when I **felt** it painfully traveling down my GI tract was more obvious--that it was an EpiPen moment (and I didn't use it then--I should have).

I live an hour away from my work, so the question of whether I take all the benadryl I may need knowing I won't be able to drive and may need to get a hotel (and be by myelf for the night???--not good) is a question. Same thing with an Epi, I guess. I need to commit to remaining in Houston for the duration of the reaction and not going back home, where DH is.

And regarding rescue while at work today: I swear, I did not want an ambulance picking me up when from the outside, I did not look anaphylactic. And I just had one clear symptom. But things were looking funny to me. I felt awful. I drank more benadryl. Finally left work and drove home (benadryl wasn't really affecting me like it usually does). Went to a hair appointment. I can hardly believe it but it's true. Yes--I am the one who went to a hair appointment the Thursday before Hurricane Rita when I was the only car in my suburb on the road. And the day I use an Epi, what do I do? Get a haircut.

I kept feeling better after taking benadryl. With the reactions I've had I have to take benaryl every 3-4 hours for 24 or more. My stomach will feel bad, then I take it.

But then during my hair appointment my chest started hurting and feeling tight. That would be the second symptom. And my stomach still hurt a little (but I'd just taken more benadryl, so it was on the upswing actually). By this time it was 7:30. Still, I didn't feel horrible, and I could drive. I asked DH to meet me at the hospital of my choice (not the closest one, but they handle anaphylaxis better and have a nicer waiting area to boot), and I picked up some dinner on the way to make sure that hunger wasn't contributing to the funny feeling in my stomach (it wasn't). We got to the hospital. I met DS and DH in the parking lot. I took out the Epi and used it on myself in front of DS while he counted. I just thought it was important that he see this happen so that if it becomes necessary for his PA, he's seen it done on something besides a grapefruit.

I felt better. DS and DH left, and I stayed at the hospital for several hours and came home.

I didn't do all the kinds of things for myself that are in the game plan for DS. But this gastrointestinal reaction is very different than DS' reactions. It's gradual--this one was, anyway. It wasn't until after I took the Epi that I knew I did the right thing. After the Epi, my chest tightness went away and my stomach felt better. And so did my esophagus finally. But before hand, it was really tough to determine whether this was just a benadryl moment or not. The thing that helped me decide it wasn't was the second symptom. And pictures of people who have recently died from anaphylaxis.

And the meeting I had today wasn't worth any of that.

I just thought I'd post the experience here--to say when a GI reaction turned anaphylactic (I think--still not positive, but glad I took the epi).

[This message has been edited by McCobbre (edited January 20, 2006).]

On Jan 20, 2006

McCobbre, so sorry to hear about your reaction and hope you're feeling ok now. How did you react to the epi? Did you feel better immediately and were the side-effects of the epi uncomfortable? (pounding heart, etc.) Glad to hear you kept your cool and handled it well.

The horrible GI reactions keep me on the straight and narrow. I do NOT want to be treated for ana while seated on a throne in a public restroom!

I've been out of touch for the last few weeks so will have to find your post about your RAST results. So now you're positive for shellfish and neg for peanuts? Does the allergist think the PN result was a false negative? What a pain!!

Hope you're ok now. cheers, Adele

On Jan 20, 2006


Originally posted by Adele: [b]McCobbre, so sorry to hear about your reaction and hope you're feeling ok now. How did you react to the epi? Did you feel better immediately and were the side-effects of the epi uncomfortable? (pounding heart, etc.) Glad to hear you kept your cool and handled it well. [/b]

I started feeling the Epi after about 3-4 minutes. I didn't feel uncomfortable. It didn't hurt much during the injection (only about 4 hours afterward). I didn't experience the bad side effects I used to when I used to go to the ER for asthma attacks as a kid and was treated with epinephrine. I drove myself home when I went home. I wasn't jumpy. No pounding heart.


Originally posted by Adele: [b] The horrible GI reactions keep me on the straight and narrow. I do NOT want to be treated for ana while seated on a throne in a public restroom!

I've been out of touch for the last few weeks so will have to find your post about your RAST results. So now you're positive for shellfish and neg for peanuts? Does the allergist think the PN result was a false negative? What a pain!!

Hope you're ok now. cheers, Adele


Unfortunately, I find shellfish much more difficult to avoid than PA. Much. Even if you stay out of seafood restaurants, it's on the grills here for fajitas, enchiladas--and those kinds of things are served at lots of restaurants here (not just Mexican restaurants). It's easy to run into here.

I've made an appointment with the manager at the restaurant I went to to go over this with him and the head chef. I have to go there for work often. He's put me in the system so that any time I make a reservation there--or when a colleague makes the reservation, all I have to do is call. And before I order, my waitperson and the chef will be aware of my allergy. But that's not good enough for me. I want them to find one thing that is safe from cross contamination. And I can order that every time I go there.

Well, today all day at work those stomach cramps have continued--and for the first time I've experienced those uterine contractions you mentioned. It's surprising. And very identifiable. But that's what they are. We had a miscarriage a year ago, and this is exactly how it felt initially.

Yes--postive for shellfish and negative for peanuts on two separate ImmunoCap panels. I've seen my numbers, and they surprise me. So I ate some M&Ms at work last week thinking that I have every right to eat them if I'm not PA--as long as I brush my teeth (they're regular M&Ms---just may contains). Sure enough I started to feel awful. After some benadryl I felt better. I don't know what to think. I don't know if I'm PA or not. But after yesterday and today I do not want a challenge any time soon. My doctor talked about a possible intolerance. Or a possible allergy but said that what the ImmunoCap shows is that it won't be anaphylactic.

The good outcome of this is that I finally experienced the epi--and DS saw it happen. So the mystery has been cleared a bit for both of us I think. And hopefully he's less scared. I will know how it feels if I ever have to use it on him.

But the thing that always gets me about this food allergy thing is this: sometimes knowing when to use the Epi is just not clear cut. With a GI reaction it seems especially that way. You just have to go with your gut (no pun intended). But ultimately I had to go with my mind, too. Two symptoms=Epi even if I didn't feel any worse than I did before.

I'm rambling a bit. I know this wasn't about PA, but I hope the fact that it was a GI reaction was helpful to folks who have them--hearing it described and how it progressed.

On Jan 20, 2006

Hi McCobbre, thanks for answering my questions. Sorry to hear you're still dealing with the stomach problems...and I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one that experiences the uterine and/or bladder contractions. Absolute misery! The bladder and uterus are smooth muscle - same as the respiratory system. I'm guessing that I (we!) are lucky that it hits the bladder or uterus rather than the respiratory system. If you google 'anaphylaxis' + "uterine cramping" or 'anaphylaxis' + bladder you'll find lots of reputable web sites with info on this.

I've read that you can be PA yet have negative test results. I wonder if this is the case with you? Hope you feel better soon. cheers, Adele

On Jan 20, 2006

Wow. I am so sorry to hear about this! I am glad you used the epi and now you will be pretty comfortable with the idea of using it and your ds will be more comfortable too. It is scary that you took all the precautions in ordering and yet it still happened. So here is my question. As you both know, I think I may have had a pa reaction. All I had was that awful uterine cramping like being in labor. My question is how did you know that it was a shellfish allergic reaction and not, for example, indigestion? I don`t doubt your decision at all, I am really asking because I am trying to figure this out for myself with my incident last November after eating the peanut candy. How did you really decide? What did the chest tightness feel like? Did it feel like an asthma attack? I think you did the right thing---I am just trying to figure out for myself how to tell the difference.

On Jan 20, 2006

This is great, because this is exactly what I think is at the heart of this GI thing (and to tell you the truth, at the heart of some of DS' non-GI reactions): how do you know it's a reaction and not something else?

For me, it happened just about two hours afterward. It's my magic time period-either 20-30 minutes or 2 hours, usually nothing in between. I started feeling spacey, so that could be interpreted as being sick. And I started having stomach cramps. But there was the diarrhea. And the timing of that, given my other reactions--peanut and shellfish--told me that it was a reaction. And I felt better after having benadryl. My stomach felt better. I felt better. I didn't get that doom feeling, just an overall bad feeling, and I've had that before with my two of my three shellfish reactions and with three peanut reactions (not all of my nut reactions have had this bad feeling).

But benadryl made it better--for a little while, and then I'd have to take more.

And cross contamination is so possible with shellfish. When it's used so ubiquitously at this restaurant, it really was a no brainer for me to assume it was cross contamination.

But all afternoon yesterday I did wonder if I wasn't just overreacting and if perhaps this wasn't a reaction at all. I didn't want to use the epi at work. Didn't see a need to call an ambulance--and definitely didn't want it. I still don't think that was necessary. This wasn't an urgent thing. I just think it progressed. And when it did, I was ready with my epi. And fortunately, I was back in my town by then. And part of the reason I went ahead and had my hair cut was that my salon is closer to the hospital district of my town than my house. My house is very far from it. I thought, "I can't go home yet--it's too far from the hospital. While I need to spend time waiting near the hospital, I might as well go to my hair appointment." Besides, this way I looked my best!

You asked about the pain in my chest . . . now that's a strange thing. It felt tight--like there was a band around it. In addition, there was a pain in my right chest area. It did not feel like an asthma attack--more like bronchitis. It was kind of sharp. It actually still is (since this afternoon).

The Epi really made a difference with the chest symptoms. I actually still felt them the tiniest bit--just not like I had. And it made all the difference in the world with the stomach pain.

I was symptom free from 8:30 last night until this morning after I got to work. I let my doctor know about my reaction before I started having symptoms again. I thought I was through but thought I'd probably take some benadryl today, given how my reactions have gone in the past (for my 2 bad shellfish reactions before this one, the second day I needed to have liquid benadryl every 3-4 hours the next day. It's what my doctor advised).

I'm planning on continuing with a low dose of children's benadryl tomorrow throughout the day, and hopefully that will be the end of this. It's time to take more right now, in fact.

But the question of when to administer the Epi is a tough one in situations like this. It's clear cut when your child's throat is closing after exposure.

So Carefulmom, when you say you had awful uterine cramping like you were in labor--that's how this feels, although not as severe for me it sounds like. It feels like the beginning of our miscarriage, not right in the thick of it. And like it felt the week afterward. With DS I only had back labor--never had uterine contractions, so this was new last year.

Thanks Adele--I'll google the uterine contraction thing. It's so strange--and so strange that it would show up so late in the game. And after the epi, too.

[This message has been edited by McCobbre (edited January 21, 2006).]

On Jan 21, 2006

Well, the fact that Benadryl helped and epi helped does make it seem very likely that it was allergic. I don`t know that I would have figured it out though in your situation. By the way, you became pa after you eliminated peanuts from your diet due to ds, right? (just like I am doing). Did you develop your shellfish allergy after eliminating shellfish from your diet due to your ds? Or were you eating it all along and suddenly became allergic? (I know your ds is now vegetarian, but that is recent I think).

I guess the only reason that I don`t think I had a reaction is that it was 12 or 13 hours later. That seems too long between when I ate the peanuts and when it started.

On Jan 21, 2006

Hi Carefulmom, When I have either uterine or bladder contractions I also have mild to moderate nausea.

The uterine contractions give me a low backache.. there's no mistaking it for a simple backache. It definitely feels uterine.

The bladder contractions feel like a bladder infection. I'm really uncomfortable - feel like I've gotta go all the time but I don't have the burning pain when peeing as with a bladder infection.

The uterine contractions didn't cause grinding pain....just a dull ache as with menstrual cramps.

Time for you to visit an allergist! Adele

On Jan 21, 2006

Carefulmom, if I'm PA, then yes, it was after DS became PA and thus after eliminating them from my diet. Don't know if there's a connection. I was allergic to many, many foods as a child--just not ana to them. Never avoided or anything.

The shellfish thing happened in July this past summer. I will say that last Mardi Gras we had a party for DH's staff at our house and we had shrimip creole and left overs stayed in our freezer, and I could sometimes tell it was there in the freezer and it gagged me. I often wonder now whether the allergy was developing then. I did not react from having the shrimp creole (although that was the night we miscarried--but there was no other reaction, and I don't think these uterine contractions were the cause--but for the past 16 hours I've wondered how this kind of reaction **would** affect a pregnancy). This is probably TMI.

For some reason I'm putting some stock in the antacid/proton pump inhibitor theory in the shellfish allergy development. I've been on various ones for a while. I wasn't avoiding shellfish. We usually just eat it when we go out. I ate it more when we first moved here (mid 2004) than normally and then the first half of 2005 the only time I ate it was at that party at our house--until I had my crabcake reaction in July 2005. I honestly don't think I can know how it developed.

My uterine pain isn't like Adele's but it's definitely an issue. And it didn't happen until for 24 (edited )hours after my reaction.

Still feeling the reaction a bit today, BTW. Ugh. At least it's not as bad.

[This message has been edited by McCobbre (edited January 21, 2006).]

On Jan 21, 2006

That`s right, I forgot that your cap rast came back saying you are not pa. Well, it doesn`t sound like the shellfish allergy came from avoiding shellfish. I have an apt. to see the allergist Monday. We`ll see what he says.

On Jan 30, 2006

Carefulmom, I wonder why you ask about developing an allergy to peanuts after diet elimination? We were involved in a study where the whole family is allergy tested and I tested positive for Peanuts (Which I am to follow up on with an allergist). I

On Feb 1, 2006

Hi Deansdad, sorry for the delay. I have been really busy. The reason that I think I may be pa after being peanut free since 2000 due to dd is that I got really sick after eating a ton of peanut candy. I wondered if there was a connection. Anyhow, I saw the allergist and he ordered a cap rast which has to be done at the hospital (goes to a more accurate lab that way which is IBT in Kansas). I have not had time to go, as it takes hours at the hospital to go though the process. You actually have to go to Admittting and sit with everyone else waiting to be admitted. He said that it probably was not a pa reaction, but to be sure we would test. He said usually the symptoms don`t take that long to occur (12 or 13 hours).

On Feb 4, 2006

Deansdad, in my ana reaction a few weeks ago (to shellfish, not to pn), I did have a headache--not right a way, but later. It wasn't a migraine. I get those plenty and am on prophylactic meds for them. But it was a low grade headache. I wasn't sure whether to attribute it to the reaction, but I never ever get just regular headaches that aren't migaines, and I did read that they can be a symptom of a reaction, so I'm somewhat taking it that way.

So, FWIW, considering your other symptoms, you may want to get a second opinion.

Also FWIW, I have tested negative for pn a month ago with an immuno cap test, but I still have GI reactions when I eat them and sometimes may contains (I tested postitive for pn on a skin prick test a few years ago).

On Feb 17, 2006

Okay--this is a good reason to have posted my reaction in the reactions board rather than here, because an update is not really appropriate here, but here goes:

I found out that the restaurant indeed cooked my beef in a pan and not on the grill where they cook shrimp, but they used the same tongs on my beef that they were using to turn shrimp.


I "went to lunch" there last Friday for a meeting and only had tea (was too scared to even eat the rolls) because DH was out of town and DS was in a musical and even though the restaurant promised to be good I told them I didn't trust them until I could have a meeting with the head chef and the manager and that there was no way I was taking risks that day.

Showed them. HA!

They used the same tongs!

On Jan 21, 2007

Reraising for Chanda.

On Sep 21, 2007

This describes the GI symptoms I get, to a 'T'. Sudden onset - grinding stomach cramps, vomiting, diarrhea.

This is caused by the GI tract swelling.

On Oct 22, 2008


By Saralinda on Apr 7, 2009

Most of my life, I've had GI reaction to Peanuts. Usually, I'll ingest the Peanut (accidentally!!!)and my mouth and throat will feel itchy. If I immediately take a tall glass of milk, I can head off the vomiting. If I don't act fast enough, I'll throw it all up. The most remarkable reaction I had was eating a packaged cookie (don't remember what brand) and felt the fuzzy itchy feeling first in my mouth, then in my esophogus and then in my stomach. As the peanuts passed, I could feel the itch go away in the mouth and then in the throat and so on. It rolled around in my stomach for a few moments and I started to throw up, but as I threw up, the itch returned in direct reverse order. It took all of 30 minutes from start to finish but I'll never forget it.