>U Mom Knows Best: Discovering A Milk Allergy With A Blood Test

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Discovering A Milk Allergy With A Blood Test

Do I have a milk allergy? Wondering if you are allergic to dairy products? Keep reading to discover my experience with discovering my dairy allergy.

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A bit of history about why I think I have a dairy allergy

 After eliminating all dairy products from my diet, my asthma symptoms improved and I was curious to see if I was allergic to dairy. All my life, I felt sick when I had a glass of milk. Then as I got older, eating ice cream would also make me nauseated. Then when I turned 50, I started to have severe asthma symptoms that interfered with my sleep. It was a answered prayer from God, that had me wondering if my lactose issue was instead a dairy allergy. Keep reading to find out more.

     For many years, I was able to control my allergy induced asthma symptoms with two allergy medicines. Then in the year 2018, that all changed when I started to experience severe asthma attacks. 

 What I thought was cold in January turned out to be worse than I thought. When this cough that left lasted more than three weeks and left me gasping for air, I suspected that my allergy medicine was not working anymore. I tried natural things to see if it would help with my allergies but they did not control the terrible coughing attacks that I was having all day and night. 

 My family was pushing me to see a doctor but I was reluctant to go as from the past experience with my son's asthma diagnosis, I knew that it could take several months to see a doctor and I would also have to stop taking my allergy medicines for two weeks. I did not want to stop taking my medicines because I was afraid that my asthmatic cough would get worse and I would end up in the emergency room. I had already had several coughing episodes that I had trouble breathing but since I was able to rebound in less than 2 minutes, I thought I was fine but I was not. 

 During this time I was not getting much sleep as I would wake up way too many times to cough. I also tried my son's asthma inhaler but it did not help. I also did not want to take medicine if I could treat this naturally. I was getting used to this nagging asthma cough and lack of sleep. I did discover that a natural menthol rub which helped open my airways while I was having an asthmatic coughing fit. So I carried that menthol rub everywhere I went.

  There were a couple times that I almost called the doctor after some pretty bad coughing attacks, that left me gasping for air. One time I had a severe asthma attack in the car. My teen was in the car with me in the car and I joked with him about him grabbing the steering wheel if I passed out. The scary thing was I was not joking, I was afraid that I was going to stop breathing. My son even said, "Mom you are wheezing and you need to see the doctor!" 

 During this time I was also having bad coughing attacks after I worked out at the gym, again telling myself that the coughing was a good way to get the mucus out. Why is it that I get my children to the doctor but not myself?

My asthma was not in control but God was

  Finally one day in church, after struggling for 6 months, I prayed to be healed of this cough. God did not heal me that day but the next day, He revealed to me that maybe it might be dairy that is causing this asthmatic cough. A lightbulb went off in my head!

 I already had lactose issues and my daughter had a milk allergy when she was little so it made me think. It made perfect sense as looking back to January, this was also the time when I started eating a bedtime snack of cheese and crackers. I also was consuming a protein drink made from whey(dairy) protein. So I made the decision to cut out all dairy from my diet and I was not happy about it. 

 After a week of craving pizza and I still had a cough, I was hoping that it was not a dairy allergy. So I gave in and ate several slices of pizza. Several hours later I could not stop coughing when my husband called me on the phone. He asked me if I ate cheese. 

 So I again stopped eating all dairy and enlisted my boys to make sure I did not. I had read that it could take 4-6 weeks to get the dairy out of my system. I also prayed for God to take my craving for cheese away. Later that week, God answered my prayer in a huge way! 

  I was craving pizza again, so I went to the store in search of dairy-free cheese. I found 4 packages of dairy-free cheese that were on clearance and I also found several packages of dairy-free ice cream on clearance too.

Could my asthmatic coughing be related to dairy?

  I got through the next four weeks of my dairy-elimination diet by telling myself that I would enjoy pizza when we visited my son in New York. Then I would be able to confirm if it truly was a dairy issue. Those four weeks passed and I began to notice, my family did too, that I was coughing less and I was not gasping for air after the coughing attacks. I was also not coughing up buckets of mucus. When this cough first started, I had a cloth always by my side to spit all that excess mucus in. I also was finally sleeping through the night as I did not wake up with an uncontrollable cough.

I went without dairy for six weeks

  Five weeks of no dairy passed and we headed to New York. The first night we were there my family had pizza but I instead had a pho bowl from a restaurant that was near the pizza place. I was convinced that dairy was causing this asthmatic cough and I no longer was craving pizza or cheese. I also realized it was never my allergy medicine not working as we had way too much rain here in the past month and the weeds are growing like crazy. 

 I was not coughing anymore. So when the opportunity came up for me to have a blood test to see if I was allergic to dairy, I decided to test my blood to confirm my dairy allergy so I will not be tempted to eat cheese or yogurt. When I told my friends about my dairy-free diet, they asked me what do I eat?  I also don't eat meat and have problems with soy so I am thankful for my vegan & allergy-friendly protein bars.

A food allergy blood test to confirm if I was allergic to dairy

 I made an appointment to get blood work done to find out if I had a dairy allergy. I was able to visit a lab that did not require a doctor's order. I decided to get a basic food allergy profile test that would not only test for an allergy to dairy but for my other common food allergies. This test included things like soy, wheat, peanuts, and egg whites.

 I thought that I might have issues with soy also as I tend to get a drippy nose and belch a lot after I eat tofu. So I decided to get the info on soy also as I do not want this asthmatic cough to return. 

The results of the blood test

  I was surprised that my food allergy blood results came back in 6 days. The results indicated that I had a likelihood of a milk allergy and a soy allergy. My IgE results also showed a likelihood of a wheat and a peanut allergy which was surprising to me as I had no symptoms. Now after doing some research, I learned that food allergy testing may have false negatives and false positives.

 So these results are only useful if you have had reactions to the food. Also that the IgE levels do not indicate the severity only that you may have an allergy. Any level over 0.10 indicates a likelihood of a food allergy.  You could also have a negative result and still be allergic to the food especially if you have symptoms. An oral food test gives the best results but can take several hours in a doctor's office. I could also reintroduce the dairy into my diet but I don't want to experience severe asthma symptoms and then have to wait 3-4 weeks for it clear out.

 Since my asthma got better after eliminating milk and I have bad indigestion after eating soy, then the high IgE tells me that I am allergic to milk and soy. Since I have not had any known reactions to wheat or peanuts, then the results may be a false positive. My son had allergy testing last year and it showed he was allergic to eggs and the doctor said to not eliminate them from his diet unless he showed symptoms. My son hates eggs and does not eat them so he may be allergic to them. 

 For now, I will not eat milk or soy products as I do not want to experience those severe asthma symptoms again. I will still eat peanuts and wheat but I will pay attention to how I feel after I eat those. I dislike peanut butter so that is not a problem for me. My son told me to eat two peanut butter sandwiches on whole wheat bread to see if I do have any reactions. 

My dairy allergy was confirmed a couple of days later when I accidentally had pesto on my cheeseless pizza and I noticed that later that day I had a drippy nose and coughed up some phlegm. This again happened after I had a piece of chocolate. 

  So why did this develop later in life?

 I guess that some milk was causing reactions and my allergy medicines were relieving the symptoms or I was blaming other allergies like weeds and mold. I had always eaten cheese on occasion, up until last year, and when I ate it every day is when it developed into uncontrollable asthma. Drinking milk and eating ice cream has always made me feel sick. I did not drink milk as a kid as I hated the taste but I look bad and remember that I was sick a lot as a kid with ear infections and upset stomach problems.

What I thought to be a lactose problem was a milk allergy.

Common allergy symptoms:
Skin rash, itching, hives
Swelling of the lips, tongue, or throat
Shortness of breath, trouble breathing, wheezing, coughing
Stomach pain, vomiting, nausea, diarrhea

 Since I always experience nausea after eating milk products, I thought that I had lactose issues and I just tolerated it. I guess my nightly snack of cheese and crackers was just too much and that caused my asthma to be out of control. The crackers were wheat crackers, which makes me wonder about the wheat allergy thing. For now, I will avoid all dairy and soy. I may in the winter when my seasonal allergies subside, another cause of my asthma, eat dairy on occasion to see how my body reacts as I do love pizza. I am glad that I discovered dairy-free cheese and dairy-free ice cream. 


kumamonjeng said...

Lucky that you have done the blood test to find out what cause the problem and glad it is clear now. Hope you get well soon and are able to taste the pizza again.

AiringMyLaundry said...

My Mom realized she was lactose free when she realized cheese was making her run to the bathroom. She's pretty bummed since she enjoys ice cream, but she's glad many foods are available lactose-free.

Joanna said...

I do suspect I am lactose intolerant but I never had a test to confirm it. All I know is that every time I drink milk I feel really bad.

jessi joachim said...

It is great you got it figured out! I have been cutting down on dairy and I really think it may not agree with my husband but of course he refuses to go see a doctor.

Unknown said...

My daughter had a milk allergy when she was younger and it was miserable for us! I'm so glad she outgrew it! Her body adjusted as she got older and she was able to start tolerating it.

Mom Knows Best said...

For now it has to be made at home with a dairy-free cheese until I find a place that uses vegan cheese. The other day I had to have cheese less pizza when my family went out for pizza.

Mom Knows Best said...

My daughter had a milk allergy when she was younger and it caused fluid to be in her ears which resulted in her not talking until we took her off dairy. I am not sure if she outgrew it as she has asthma but as an adult she is not willing to give up dairy.

Sarah Bailey said...

Oh gosh! Amazing how much a milk allergy can effect. I am glad you have found out that you have one but also I'm sorry you have found out you do as well.

Passion Piece said...

Wow! I've never suspected that dairy allergy can have such an incredible influence on our lives! I'm happy to hear that from now on you'll know what to avoid to feel well! :)

Monidipa said...

Wow I never knew that you can get to know about allergies from blood test.. I really Hope you get well soon and are able to taste the pizza again. Because I love pizza and it hurts to know that my friends are unable to eat it.

stacey said...

I didn't know you could test for dairy and soy allergies throng a blood test. But the results seem to be inconclusive without a reaction.

scaleitsimple said...

This is very interesting! I find more and more people are developing allergies so its important to have safe ways to find this out!

Dalene Ekirapa said...

Now this is new! I always knew that too much dairy could bring about allergies but not to the point of affecting you as much. But I'm glad you're certain of this from the blood test results and even embracing a dairy-free diet.

Unknown said...

That is so interesting. I had no idea about milk allergies until my husband became lactose intolerant as an adult.

What Corinne Did said...

Better late than never. Milk allergies can be pretty bad. My cousin is allergic to milk but he was found out very early one!

Natalie Loves Beauty said...

I was shocked when I found out years ago that the majority of the population has a lactose intolerance without even knowing! I was never tested but decided to go vegan and I did notice an improvement in my overall health.

Ola @ WanderWithOla said...

Wow, it is great that you actually have done something like the blood test to find out what really caused the problem, instead of simply assuming like most of people do. Good that is clear for you now. Thanks for sharing the discount code with us!

Mommy Sigrid said...

Oh, I don't think we have that in my country, but I would like to have my daughter tested. Right now, she is not drinking milk because of her cough. I usually stop giving her milk when she has cough. Her allergic cough has improved, but it's still there.

TheZenFashionista said...

I totally relate. I eat fish (but no meat) and I don't eat dairy. My stomach can't handle it. Also, I get super congested and it gets hard to breathe. I'm glad you tried eliminating dairy and had the test and are listening to your body. We are lucky that there are so many options available to us in the grocery store.

prernamalhan said...

I became lactose intolerant myself at a very young age. Lots of attention and thought needs to be given until now before buying food items and eating out.You put your experience nicely in a detailed way.

Kiwi said...

I think many of us have a milk intolerance. I think more and more of us including myself switching over to plant based milk such as almond.

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