Mystery Solved: Beef Allergy

30 Aug

If you do not like to read or hear about stomach related issues- here’s your chance to walk away. I do not share this to be crude, but because I hope to help someone else who may be suffering and not finding answers.

Several months ago, as my digestive health hit rock bottom, and tests came back negative for everything (not counting the removal of some precancerous polyps), I found myself desperate to find what was making me miserable.

I was afraid to eat.  I feared eating out.  I feared cooking.  While the Kiddo and the Hubby enjoyed everything I put before them, I would find myself staring at the mixture of dairy, wheat, and meat products on our plates and worry over which one was the enemy.  I would eat only the tiniest of portions in hopes I would not, in the middle of a movie, cuddle time, or some other event, have to rush home or to the bathroom to spend hours of agonizing pain as my body repulsed it.  In anticipation of utter agony, I avoided friend’s gatherings, canceled dinner dates, and even canceled date nights with my DH terrified of the excruciating bubbling and rumbling that occurred in my intestinal tract that made it feel like something was in it eating from the inside out.  (I do NOT exaggerate… DH has witnessed my tears and moans and watched helplessly as I doubled over putting pressure on my gut to just get a second’s worth of relief.)

I thought I was allergic to dairy (the intestinal changes occurred almost immediately after my Kiddo was born- all my Dr. friends blamed it on a lactose intolerance, and eating yogurt on a daily basis DID seem to affect the occurrence of the symptoms- until it didn’t), or gluten, as those are staples in my family’s diet.  We love dairy- cheese, ice cream, butter, yogurt, milk, etc.   We love bread, crackers, tortillas, crusts, cookies, etc.  While I knew I could cut them down, I was not sure I could cut them out.   For several years, I have avoided dairy as much as I could (cept for cheese and ice cream, as a few of my friends can attest as they would witness me chowing down on cheese or ice cream and comment on my supposed lactose allergy.)  The symptoms I had were not consistent with my dairy intake, or my gluten intake,and the symptoms were getting worse, so I decided to finally go and really be seen for what might be the culprit.

Symptoms included:
SEVERE and sudden abdominal cramps, within 30 minutes of eating.
Shaking, cold sweats, chills
Extremely soft stool that ultimately turned to liquid.  (sometimes using the bathroom alleviated the abdominal pain, sometimes it did not)

Occasionally, symptoms also included:

Because I have Fibromyalgia, I did not go to be seen for these symptoms because I thought the fibro was just making me more sensitive to “normal” issues.  However, after speaking with some nurses and my then current provider, I finally decided to go see a GI doctor.  Because of family history with colon cancer, that doc decided I needed a colonoscopy and an endoscopy.  During the colonoscopy, they found some polyps that had to be removed, but nothing else.  Same for the endoscopy.  That, in conjunction with a series of blood panels, ruled out my feared gluten allergy as well as a dairy allergy.  So then I was sent to the lab for tests to see gall bladder, kidney, and liver function among other things that I do not recall right now.  Everything came back negative.

While that was all awesome news, it was also extremely frustrating.  My provider and my GI doc were both at a loss as to what was causing my severe and increasing symptoms.

Then, I had a conversation with a friend who told me her hubby had some sort of beef allergy.  He also could not seem to find answers to his own discomfort, and at the suggestion of someone, cut out all beef for a while.  Completely befuddled, because I had never considered I might have a meat allergy!  I mean, seriously, how many people do you know that are allergic to juicy hamburgers or prime ribs?  Its nonsense!  However, I had nothing to lose so I discussed it with DH and we decided to live beef-free for a while.

The first two weeks, I noticed a difference immediately.  Then I had a McDonald’s Big Mac (I KNOW… not the greatest samples of beef, so sue me…)  Immediately, I got sick.  Two more weeks of no beef, and I realized I might finally be on to something.  So, DH and I were out for dinner, and I decided to order a steak, my favorite cut, medium well.  Sure enough, we barely got home in time for me to run in agony to spend the next two hours writhing in pain on the toilet.

Since then, I have been completely beef-free.  I still eat red meat.  I eat venison, elk, and bison.  I would like to try organic, grass-fed beef, but am frankly afraid to.  I am eating a ton more pork, chicken, and fish, though I lean more toward the fish because, unless it is farm raised, it is tons less likely to be hormone injected.  (I am seriously skeptical of my new-found relationship with chicken and pork…) 

I still have intestinal issues from time to time- as we all do, and all will.  However, there is a marked difference in the severity and consistency in those episodes.  Since I stopped eating all beef products, I have not had a single instance of those gut-ripping cramps.

Anyway, this is not Doctor confirmed.  This is confirmed through my own experience.  I would like to see a Doc to get the allergy confirmed, but I think I have been poked and prodded enough this year.  I have met my quota!  LOL

Anyway, if you suffer from severe abdominal issues and tests show nothing- maybe try taking two weeks off of beef.  Who knows?  It might help. 

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