Do Seasonal Allergies Effect the Gut? The quick and easy answer to this question…an emphatic YES.
A stereotypical image of seasonal allergies is a person with a runny nose, congestion, and a sinus headache. But for many, their symptoms do not fit neatly into a diagnosis.
Seasonal allergies only cause symptoms for some when they are under stress (which includes weather), others may only have had allergy symptoms after an accident, pregnancy, surgery, or an autoimmune disease diagnosis.
Potential Symptoms Of Seasonal Allergies
Recurrent Pink Eye
- Joint Pain
Seasonal Allergies & Digestive Symptoms
Among some of the lesser-known symptoms of seasonal allergies are stomach upset, constipation, bloating, diarrhea, GERD, acid reflux, nausea, and stomach cramping. These symptoms are NO FUN.
These digestive symptoms can come with little or no upper respiratory symptoms which is why it can be difficult for these symptoms to be traced back to their source of seasonal allergies.
The Cause: Histamine
Histamine is released when a perceived threat or foreign substance is detected entering the body. These foreign substances can be dust, pollen, and even the foods we eat every day.
When a foreign substance is detected, mast cells release histamine to rally your body’s healing forces…
In response to histamine release, surrounding blood vessels dilate, increasing white blood cells and blood plasma proteins in that area.
Immune system proteins (antibodies) bind with the invading foreign substance (antigens).
Allergies that cause severe symptoms are a consequence of your immune system being overwhelmed and overreacting...
This overreaction could be due to many factors but in the case of seasonal allergies, it is usually because the body can’t keep up with the number of perceived threats flooding your system and your body is overwhelmed.
Histamine Can Cause Stomach Upset
When histamine is released in the gastrointestinal tract, it can cause symptoms like stomach pain, bloating, nausea, diarrhea, and constipation.
(*Underlying conditions and imbalances can also cause too much histamine to be released.)
A few examples of this are something called small intestinal bowel overgrowth or SIBO. Underlying or low-grade infection, poor diet, metal toxicity, nutrient deficiencies, and food sensitivities:
What is referred to as histamine sensitivity or intolerance is usually a combination of a few underlying factors; those being infection, toxicity, and liver congestion.
In a case of histamine intolerance, an individual can become sensitized to histamine-containing foods, histamine-releasing foods, as well as what’s happening right now outside…classic environmental allergens.
A common treatment for histamine intolerance is to be on a special diet – but those with histamine intolerance will only have moderate success without a personalized protocol of whole food & herbal supplements to address the underlying cause.
Histamine & Liver Congestion
Often, excess histamine and underlying infection combine and make allergy symptoms (like stomach upset) unbearable…
Ideally, your liver would remove any excess histamine caused by seasonal allergies but when it is congested from the strain of an underlying infection, it gets ‘behind’ at clearing away this excess histamine. (Think of the “I Love Lucy” episode where Lucy and Vivian are on the candy assembly line that is moving faster than they can box the chocolates. If you’re too young to know about this show, do a search for it. Worth a watch!)
This is why you may have had mild allergies before but now the symptoms are unbearable.
There is a certain threshold, a certain amount of toxin or infection that your body can comfortably handle but once it passes that point, your body falls behind and your symptoms take a drastic nosedive.
This could mean that your symptoms get more severe, you have them more often, you have different triggers or they are a different set of symptoms entirely.
Finding The Cause
Both in cases of histamine intolerance and in seasonal allergies – histamine is not really the ‘problem.’ The presence of histamine in your body is normal and vital to your health. The overproduction of histamine is a result of your body trying to protect you. Finding the cause of this overreaction is key to lessening and eliminating these symptoms.
Even if your allergies consist of ‘normal’ symptoms like a runny nose, sinus headaches, and congestion – if they are affecting your quality of life or you are dependent on over the counter or prescription anti-histamines to get through your day then an underlying condition is most likely making your allergies worse.
Addressing an underlying viral, bacterial or fungal infection can not only help improve allergy symptoms but will give you a better quality of life…and who doesn’t want that?!
If you’ve been dealing with seasonal allergy symptoms season after miserable season, how great would it feel to put those debilitating symptoms behind you?!
It is possible to get lasting, relief from seasonal allergies. A personalized, evidence-based approach using whole food supplements and herbs can make the difference between a spring indoors with the air conditioner on constantly and one outside enjoying the season.
So in review does Seasonal Allergies Effect the Gut? Yes but we can help!
If you would like to know more, please call our office. I’d love to help eliminate this seasonal misery from your life!