Treating the cause, rather than suppress the symptoms
by Sue Kira, Naturopath & Clinical Nutritionist
Client name and identifying information changed
Suzy first started getting allergy problems as a child. Insect bites seemed to be the main culprit when she was young, but allergy tests revealed that she was also allergic to dust, dust mites, most animal furs, dander and many pollens. But Suzy could not remember having hayfever when young.
The allergist prescribed ‘desensitisation drops’ taken orally for Suzy over a few months. After the course finished she then only had the normal response to insect bites and no other apparent symptoms.
But later in life Suzy developed a bad case of hayfever which could only be controlled with cortisone nasal sprays. At the time Suzy had children, was in a stressful relationship, and worked on a permaculture farm where she was exposed to substances like mushroom compost, hay bales, many weeds and their seeds.
Suzy saw a naturopath who helped to sort out much of her ‘leaky gut’ issues and correct her zinc deficiency. Her relationship also ended. All appeared to be under control for many years, provided she used the nasal drops during summer.
Many years later, Suzy developed ‘oral allergy syndrome’ (OAS) where she had blistered lips in reaction to chilli, paprika, tomatoes and capsicums. Symptoms from the raw varieties were worse, but even when cooked, these foods caused minor inflammation of the lips.
It was at this point that Suzy decided she needed help again and came to see me.
After discussing her history, Suzy and I both felt it was possible that her allergies progressed this way due to the on-going suppressive effects of the desensitisation program she had as a child, and/or the allergy nasal drops which she continued to use each summer, because her itchy eyes, runny nose and sneezing kept re-occurring year after year.
I realised it was time for her to stop suppressing symptoms and start dealing with the underlying causes.
For Suzy this meant adjusting her diet by eliminating all inflammatory types of foods she was eating, such as chocolate, ice-cream and other sugar laden foods, as well as going off gluten, dairy and caffeine.
Normally I recommend no alcohol, but she had already stopped a few years previously. We also cut out the ‘red foods’ that triggered her oral allergy symptom.
Other OAS foods were also removed for six weeks to allow her immune system to recover. Gut support and leaky gut healing was administered, plus supplementing with extra zinc on top of a zinc rich diet. Probiotics were also integral for her program.
The diet alone removed the symptoms within a couple of weeks, but the gut healing and immune support from zinc and probiotics was administered until tests showed rectification.
The following summer was the first for many years that Suzy didn’t need any nasal drops. Time will tell how she progresses, as factors such as diet and stress can fluctuate in a person’s life, depending on their choices and circumstances.