Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Milk Makes Me Itch

The allergist was so insistent that I couldn't possibly really be allergic to milk, and poo-poohed even the idea that I might have some kind of milk or lactose intolerance. So I tested his theory.

Maybe I really can eat dairy products, I thought, or at least yogurt and butter (which have low to no levels of lactose).

So I've been eating yogurt and butter again.

That's likely the reason I've sprouted so many weird symptoms all of a sudden the last few days (starting about when I started eating the yogurt again). And why I've been so itchy the last few days. And why I now have a very itchy scalp.

They're all the same symptoms I got last time I tried this experiment. And the time before.


I used to get eczema on my scalp as a kid, along with GI symptoms, when I had dairy products. The last several times I've tried eating dairy products, I ended up with an extremely itchy scalp within a few days, as well as general body-itching, diarrhea and other GI symptoms. When I stopped eating the dairy products the symptoms went away.

My allergist had 3 reasons for saying I wasn't allergic to milk:

1. My skin test was negative for all the food allergies we tested, including milk.

2. "Only children are usually allergic to milk. Milk allergies are very rare in adults. And adults don't get eczema from milk. So it can't be eczema from a milk allergy that's making your head itch."

3. "You can't blame everything on the food you eat. The fact that you get these symptoms after ingesting milk is just a coincidence because they're not typical allergy symptoms."

He also said that the pinprick-like tiny raised bumps Baby E gets over her entire diaper area within a few minutes of eating corn or soy (even if she hasn't had a BM) can't possibly be related to allergies because "Diaper rash is not an allergy symptom." Even when she got the exact same thing after her skin-prick test when she reacted to corn and soy.

Diarrhea and her other symptoms, he said, "can be" allergy symptoms, but they probably aren't usually an allergic reaction in her case. More likely she's just getting one virus after another, several times a week. Or possibly she could have a GI issue, but that's highly unlikely.

The more I think about it the more frustrated I get. I don't know whether to trust his opinions or not.

He is, after all, a pediatric allergist. He should know from allergy reaction, right???


Anonymous Amy said...

I would find a new allergist as this one doesn't have a clue what he's talking about.

I am alergic to milk. I can have butter or cream with little problems, since it's the proteins that bother me. Mostly my reactions mimic cold/upper respitory infections, but I've also noticed joint pain, eczema, and drowsiness/lethargy (akin to having the flu).

I'll have to e-mail you some thoughts my sister had on your and Baby E's visits to the allergist. She had some interesting ideas.

My prayers are (still) with you all.

11:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also, food allergies truly do run in families and can cause many different symptoms.

My sister is allergic to shellfish, her husband is allergic to nuts. Their kids have to be hyper alert for allergies (weren't allowed to eat common allergens until they were old enough to say, "My tongue itches")

Her allergist reminded her that just because she and her husband present with classic symptoms (closing airways, puffy face, itchy tongue and lips) doesn't mean her kids would present with the same symptoms.

12:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You would be the best person to judge if you have a reaction to something or not. Don't let the allergist try to convince you that you don't have an allergy when it's clear that you do. It may not be the milk itself, it may be a by-product of the yogurt that you're actually allergic to, but he'll never know beacuse he's being thick as a post about it.

I hope that you can get a good doc who will LISTEN to what you're telling him, and not make snap assessments based on what typically happens to 'other people'. He needs to look at you as an individual, and then find out what you react to.

This all makes me boiling mad on your behalf.

1:31 PM  
Anonymous JF said...

It sounds like the allergist is just NOT listening, much less offering you concrete reassurances or explanations for your very careful observations. Such a shame. I hope you're able to find someone better.

10:51 AM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Whether he wants to call it an "allergy" or not, clearly, there is *some* reaction to those foods. Coincidence doesn't really seem likely based upon the consistencies you describe. He shouldn't be dismissing the causality just because he doesn't understand it.

I once met somebody who said they were allergic to pasteurized milk, but not raw milk. They took a spoon full of raw milk every so often to overcome their allergy... something about the natural enzymes or the flora or something that was destroyed during pasteurization.

12:16 PM  
Blogger purple_kangaroo said...

Thanks, all.

You know, I really don't need permission from the allergist to avoid dairy products, do I?

3:09 PM  
Anonymous grandmac said...

;-) I would certainly say you don't need his permission. LOL

I could have told him what would happen. ;-0 LOL

Doctors need to listen, but many don't, which is a sad state of medicine these days.

6:10 PM  
Anonymous **Silvermoon** said...

No time to read the comment thread but I bet others before me also said this: I have no confidence in your allergist! He should not have a medical license. Get thee to another allergist.

I have lactose intolerance. Its onset commonly occurs in young adults I think in the early 20's. Lactose is obviously in milk. As to the specific subgroups of dairy products in a chemical sense the reactions obviously can be individual. For ex. I have no problem ever with ice cream and only sometimes with cream cheese, rarely with cheese,etc so I am lucky.

You need someone trained in your camp, who is like a detective, like to see if cooking the milk eliminates the allergy, but more importantly to track down what the ingredients or ingredients are that trigger your VERY REAL symptoms! (I suffer from eczema and itchy skin or throat for many other allergies.) Take care

3:28 PM  
Blogger purple_kangaroo said...

Silvermoon, I'd like to find another allergist. I think I'll work on finding a primary care doctor first, though, and if I find a good one maybe he/she will be able to recommend a better allergist.

12:18 PM  
Anonymous Magda said...

Hi there, I have the exact same problem...when I eat butter, milk, yogurt or other dairy i get a body itch...nto a rash but my skin just starts to itch. It's a huge nuisance but i am convinced it is an additive used in North America that is added during pasteurizing. I go to Europe every now and then and i can eat dairy and drink milk there without a problem because they keep additives at a minimum. Nothing you can really do except avoid those foods...or moderate. I can have a bit of butter one day and avoid it for the next couple of days, same with yogurt...milk i can't drink at all because that is an instant reaction.

Good luck!

8:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just started experiencing a very itchy scalp after drinking milk. My neck and arms also itch as well. I have never had these reactions before as a child, and I am a 51 year old adult. I have an apptment with an allergist next week, and I know its a reaction to the milk, as that is the only time it happens. I just dont know why these reactions are showing up now.

2:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Anonymous
With all the chemical bombardment we punish our bodies with daily, we shouldnt be surprised that eventually our body says enough is enough and stops tolerating something, or gets a rash or allergy out of the blue. Our body fights until it can't then tells you its had enough by throwing an allergy/reaction on the wall for you to see. Check out a naturopath or find a Neways rep in your area. Doctors are trained to only see what they have been trained in for conventional synthetic medicines. Its not about treating symptoms, its about finding the cause and removing it.

8:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Find a new doctor - this one sounds like a dope! Good luck to you!

7:52 PM  
Blogger Deirdre said...

This is such an old post, but I'm hoping it's the answer I've been looking for. My 9 year old daughter has red itchy bumps on her scalp. Bacterial and fungal cultures have been negative and her dermatologists are at a loss. She was dx'ed with milk allergy as an infant and I thought she's outgrown it until I tried her dairy free over the summer (while she was off her ADHD meds) and her behavior calmed down a lot. I took her to an allergist and the dr. was much more excited to try to find the root cause of her ADHD and had her undergo sleep testing and all sorts of things without even ONCE testing her for any allergy. She started her meds again in 4th grade as her abstaining from milk wasn't making enough of a difference to go without and I became more lax about her milk intake. Now this's so awful for her. I just called and made an appt. with an allergist. Thank you for sharing your issue!!

9:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You probably are not allergic, which is why it is not showing up on the allergy test. You have probably developed a sensitivity or intolerance to dairy. I am intolerant to gluten & dairy. My allergist had no problem with that and told me to take allergy medicine if I have a reaction, which actually does help. She recognzed that it is just as stressful as an allergy. Go to a different allergist and do an elimination diet. Eliminate dairy, gluten, nuts, corn, eggs & nuts for 2 weeks. Add back 1 item at a time for a few days and see if you react to it. A lot of allergists will have patients do that, so I am unsure why yours did not work with you, that's very wierd... Good luck!

4:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know I am posting on an old comment but I do have the same issue... Milk/dairy products make my skin itch. Same thing when I eat anything with acid i,e, apples, oranges, anything containing vinegar or lime/lemon... etc... I stay away from these as often as I can but it is not always so easy... Drs. In USA, Europe and Aruba have told me "live with it" after hundreds of allergy tests came back negative .... It would be great if anyone can enlighten those of us who have to go through this ....thanks in advance....

1:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since there were a couple responses to my post, I thought I'd leave an update on our situation in VB! I took my daughter to a peds. allergist and on a skin test, she was slightly positive for allergies to milk and wheat. The allergist did not feel that she was allergic ENOUGH to have an IMMEDIATE reaction to either, but that prolonged exposure could actually be causing a systemic response. Her dermatologist used that report with her findings and recommended avoiding milk primarily, because when she was dairy-free (but not wheat-free), she was asymptomatic. So she is 99% dairy-free (some soy alternatives list casein, a milk protein). She is 80% Gluten free. With all the exposure gluten-free diets have been getting, most things are marked and it's not as hard to pick out things that she can eat.

1:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

my allergist explained that sometimes when people have a poor immune system that they get itchy symptoms and to use reactin...i am working on improving my immune system I think that is a good reason why not test it...i haven't had dairy still too afraid!

9:56 AM  
Blogger Mel said...

You may have a sensitivity rather than a allergy. There are blood tests that test Immune respose called igG testing. you can get that done through Metametrix labs.
I would suggest a Triad profile. This is urine and blood test. Then you can see what your sensitivities are and also what effects this has had on your intestines, liver and also neuro transmitters.

3:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have exactly you same problem including the acid. Any luck figuring it out?

4:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In regard to your Doctor, I have a joke for you, what do you call a med student that graduates last in his class............................................................................................................................Doctor
:-) Just something to think about when your talking to the "professionals"

5:55 PM  
Anonymous Jodi Horner said...

Really old post, I see, but wow is it timely for me. I'm doing a huge change by trying to eliminate sugar from my diet--I likely have an autoimmune disease causing my hair to fall out (I'm not bald but it's a lot of hair and I'm having to do comb-overs in certain places.)

By eliminating sugar, using Sarah Wilson's IQuitSugar cookbook, there's a lot of dairy replacing things (or rather, to fill in for sugar's absence.) Yesterday I had Greek Yogurt, Goat's Milk, Goat Cheese, and more Greek Yogurt. In bed trying to get to sleep my arms were so itchy I couldn't sleep! I used a cold pack to relieve it and that helped. But it occurred to me, y daughter has just gotten a stool test result that indicates she is intolerant to dairy and soy....maybe mama is too?

Do you know anything about IgA in the stool? My daughter's results were Milk = 23 (normal is >10 ) and soy is 33 (again, normal is <10)

6:30 AM  

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