Histamine Intolerance Symptoms

Histamine intolerance is becoming increasingly identified as an underlying cause of numerous strange, allergy-like symptoms, that often appear without any history of disorder.

Histamine is best known as a compound which is released in response to allergic reactions (think seasonal allergies: many people take anti-histamines). The release of histamine occurs as part of a normal biological mechanism and, when functioning properly, histamine is typically produced and degraded in an amount which is tolerable, most people do not experience symptoms at all.

If You Have A Histamine Intolerance

If however, you possess a histamine intolerance, this means that the amount of histamine that your body is producing or consuming (through food and environment) is not balanced with the rate at which that histamine being degraded, resulting in higher-than-normal biological levels of histamine.

In histamine intolerant individuals, high levels of histamine are capable of producing allergy-like symptoms such as hives, rashes and congestion. Additionally, what many people don’t realize is that histamine intolerance can also produce a variety of additional symptoms such as digestive distress and fatigue.

Due to the fact that histamine intolerance symptoms are variable, widespread and can impact nearly every single system in the body, histamine intolerance is one of the most difficult intolerances to identify and diagnose.

You can read more about the causes of histamine intolerance here.

Below, I’ve detailed a list of common histamine intolerance symptoms impacting various areas of the body.

Histamine Intolerance Symptoms: Gut & Digestion

  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (especially IBS-D)
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhoea
  • Excessive flatulence
  • Constipation (less common than diarrhea)
  • Stomach aches or cramps (including severe menstrual cramps)
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Acid reflux / Heartburn / Indigestion
  • General digestive symptoms

Histamine Intolerance Symptoms: Skin

  • Rashes
  • Urticaria / Hives
  • Psoriasis
  • Eczema
  • Acne or pimples
  • Rosacea or redness
  • Pruritis / Itchiness (also ocular pruritus or itchy eyes)
  • Inflammation of the skin

Histamine Intolerance Symptoms: Respiratory

  • Congestion
  • Asthma
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Chronic cough
  • Rhinitis
  • Difficulty breathing

Histamine Intolerance Symptoms: Cardiac

  • Arrhythmia
  • Fast beating
  • Fluttering
  • Tachycardia

Histamine Intolerance Symptoms: Circulatory

  • Circulatory collapse
  • Hypotension
  • Hypertension
  • Constant shivers or chills
  • Dizziness

Histamine Intolerance Symptoms: Psychological

  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Depression
  • Mood swings or imbalances
  • Irritability
  • Inattentiveness
  • Lack of concentration

Histamine Intolerance Symptoms: Additional

  • Headaches / migraines
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Watery eyes
  • Fatigue
  • Sleep issues
  • Oedema (swelling often around eyes, mouth and throat)

As you can see from this extensive list of histamine intolerance symptoms, there can be a lot of variability in the disorder, with an increasing number of symptoms continuing to be researched.

One of the best ways to identify if your symptoms are due to histamine intolerance, is to follow a simple histamine intolerance elimination diet, which is used to reduce internal histamine levels and alleviate symptoms. If symptoms are due to histamine intolerance, studies have often shown symptoms to relieve within the first 1-2 weeks.

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Anita Tee, Msc

Anita Tee is a highly qualified and published nutritional scientist, carrying a Master of Science in Personalized Nutrition and a Bachelor of Science in Human Biology, specializing in Genetic & Molecular Biology.

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