Health

Things you need to know about egg intolerance

Egg intolerance is when your body is unable to digest eggs or has any reaction to an egg. Most people are intolerant to the egg white, being egg yolk intolerant is much more uncommon.

Eggs are a very common part of our diets and one of the most common allergy-causing foods. Actually, an egg intolerance is a non-life-threatening adverse response to egg consumption.

People might have an intolerance to the egg white, yolks, or both. Such an intolerance commonly leads to gastrointestinal problems, like abdominal bloating or diarrhea.

In some cases, this intolerance can last for a few years, while others have trouble for life. Moreover, it can occur at any age. Unlike some other allergies, egg intolerances are not life-threatening. But, they can be very problematic for affected ones.

Moreover, egg intolerances and sensitivities are common and seem to be on the rise. Egg intolerances can be hard to diagnose due to its wide range of symptoms.

How is it different from egg allergy?

Having an intolerance means your body reacts adversely to that particular food. It is also possible to have several food sensitivities at once, like to soy, gluten, and dairy.

Egg intolerance is much different from an egg allergy, which is basically caused by an immune response to egg proteins.

In case you have an egg allergy, your immune system reacts by attacking substances which your body cannot tolerate. You might notice symptoms like itchy rashes and swelling around your face and throat right after you eat eggs.

Severe egg allergies can, sometimes, cause a severe allergic reaction termed anaphylaxis. This is a life-threatening event which can stop consciousness and breathing.

However, an egg intolerance does not cause allergic symptoms or anaphylaxis. But you can tell that you have a sensitivity to eggs on the basis of symptoms you experience after eating them.

Symptoms of egg intolerance

The egg intolerance largely affects your gastrointestinal system. They can vary in severity and can affect an individual both psychologically and physically. So, people having a sensitivity to eggs can experience one or more symptoms. Typical symptoms of food intolerance include the following;

  • Digestive complaints – like Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), abdominal pain, bloating or stomach ache
  • Neurological problems – such as severe headaches and migraines
  • Skin issues – most commonly acne, itchiness, eczema, and rashes
  • Exhaustion and fatigue – a lack of energy, “brain fog” or weariness
  • Joint pain – persistent swelling of the joints, cramps
  • Mental problems – depression or anxiety
  • Respiratory complaints – like difficulty breathing, sinusitis, and rhinitis

Moreover, it is also possible to feel headaches, nuisances or a general sense of fogginess. There are immediate symptoms of a food allergy. But on the other hand, an intolerance can occur up to some hours or days later.

Babies and young children have much more trouble articulating symptoms of food sensitivity. You may be concerned if you notice your kid has bowel fluctuations or if they complain of a distressed stomach after consuming eggs.

Diagnosis of an egg intolerance

Allergies are perhaps easier to detect or diagnose due to multiple forms of testing, like blood tests and skin prick tests.

Moreover, there are some alternative or integrative experts who may offer food sensitivity tests by looking for antibodies in the blood. But these are somehow controversial and often not covered by insurance.

A DNA kit is also available online to help detect food sensitivities, but those tests may not be as correct.
Hence, a perhaps more reasonable and accurate way is to track your signs and symptoms in a food diary after eating eggs. The detail is much important here because food intolerance symptoms are not immediate always.

Furthermore, you’ll also need to make note of how long your signs last. Your clinician can look this after weeks to determine if you have any food intolerance.

Treatment for egg intolerance

The most effective way to treat egg intolerance is to avoid eggs as much as possible. Your clinician may suggest an elimination diet, where you avoid eggs for up to 6 weeks at a time.

Then, you may see how you feel and whether you need to add eggs gradually back into your diet. Moreover, nowadays there is a comparatively wide choice of chicken egg alternatives. These include;

  • Animal-based egg alternatives
  • Plant-based egg replacements which can be made at home
  • Processed egg replacement products

Aside from whole eggs or egg whites, you will also need to avoid dishes cooked with eggs. When eating out, avoid egg-containing dishes so you can help prevent probable reactions after your meal.

For children, it is also possible to grow out of an egg intolerance. Most children outgrow egg allergies as well, with an estimated 70% getting over them at the age of 16.

Risks of egg intolerance

Having an egg intolerance does not indicate that you’ll develop an allergy to eggs. Aside from the signs after eating eggs, there is also a risk of missing some key nutrients which eggs provide. These key nutrients include;

  • choline
  • lutein
  • omega-3 fatty acids
  • protein
  • selenium
  • vitamin D

If you can’t have eggs a couple of times a week, consult your clinician about whether you are low in these important nutrients. He may recommend you incorporate other foods or supplements to prevent nutritional deficiencies.

On the flip side, an egg allergy is more dangerous. Therefore, it’s important to check that you have an egg intolerance and not an allergy, just in case you unintentionally eat eggs and egg products.

The difference between the two can be found by the symptoms. While an allergic reaction to eggs can cause diarrhea and other stomach upset symptoms, an allergy can also cause breathing problems and a drop in blood pressure.

The takeaway

An egg intolerance can be unpleasant. But the most effective way to get rid of its symptoms is by practicing an elimination diet. Moreover, your reactions to foods can also change over time, specifically through adulthood.

On the other hand, egg allergies are extremely dangerous, especially in children. Call your doctor and seek immediate emergency treatment, if you think your child has signs and symptoms of a food allergy. Moreover, any anaphylactic symptoms require emergency medical care.

Ilene Johnstone

Ilene Johnstone is an author at Top Health Journal. Currently, she is working as a biochemist and researcher. She is keen on emerging research, diet, new treatments, diseases and other trending topics in health. She delivers best regarding health to viewers in the form of interesting writings. Twitter- @IleneJohnstone

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