I've been having terrible stomach aches/cramps/digestive issues off and on over the last several weeks. The only thing these incidents have in common is that I've eaten peanut butter shortly before the onset of all of them. I've never had any sort of food allergy before (and I haven't had any rashes or breathing troubles), but I can't help but think that it's peanut butter that's suddenly causing me problems. Has anyone else had an experience similar to this? I'm very tempted to visit my doctor to ask for an allergy test, but I don't want her to think I'm crazy. Any input is appreciated. :-)

By WriterMama on Apr 11, 2014

Thank you so much! This is immensely helpful. I have made an appointment with my doctor to try to figure out what's going on. Until then, I plan to steer clear of peanuts and products containing them. Thanks again!

By on Apr 11, 2014

Question of the Week: Answered!

Every week, is answering one of the questions posted in our community.

Our Answer:

Stomach aches, cramps, and digestive issues can all be symptoms of a peanut allergy. However, that does not necessarily mean it is a peanut allergy. One question to ask yourself is: How soon after eating peanut butter do these symptoms occur? Usually, an allergic reaction will occur within minutes after consuming the peanut products.

Another possibility is that you have developed a peanut intolerance. With a peanut allergy, even a small amount of any peanut product can cause a reaction because the immune system is responding to the allergen. A food sensitivity, on the other hand, does not involve the immune system, so you can usually eat small amounts of the food without any trouble. Food sensitivity symptoms are also only digestive, which would account for the stomach aches and cramps, and tend to come on more gradually.

You should still consult your doctor on this matter. Being tested for a peanut allergy is a good idea so that, if you do have an allergy, you can take the proper steps to cope with it. If you have a food intolerance, your doctor can also recommend diet changes that could ease the pain.

To read more about how an allergic reaction works and what the differences are between a food allergy and a food intolerance, click here.

And for information on the pros and cons of the Elimination Diet – a tactic some people use to decipher food sensitivities – click here.

We asked our Facebook fans for their help, and you can read their advice here.

By VictoriaRosesmom on Apr 14, 2014

Sorry to hear about your stomach problems. It could be an allergy or intolerance. So, no, I don't think it's unreasonable to ask the doctor for one. He or she won't know unless they test you. However what you are describing reminds me of my grandma, who gets terrible pain after eating nuts, she was recently diagnosed with diverticulitis. So, if the allergy test comes back negative, don't despair, go see a gastrointerologist.