Allergies Following Weight Loss Surgery

Dear Barbara,
I have had minor non-seasonal allergies off and on during my life.  But in the last two years as I gained 50-60 pounds, my allergies got so much worse that I missed work many times.  I was allergic to cats (I have three), dust and grass.  I am now 3 months, ten days post-op, have lost 76 pounds and have not had any allergies in the last four weeks.  I'm sure it's due to my weight loss.  I have suffered so long and can now breathe through my nose.  My doctor is amazed.  The other ailment that I no longer suffer from is migraines.  I used to get a migraine every month on the second day of my period.  They were so severe.  I have not had one in three months.

I love your newsletter!

Rachel
rmknopp@indauto.com

Barbara,
Prior to my weight loss surgery I had environmental allergies for years.  It got so bad it caused me to take shots and the allergies turned into asthma.  Six months after my surgery I was able to stop my asthma medications.  I will be three years post-op February 2, 2007.

~Maureen~
herselfdb@yahoo.com

Hi Barbara,
I too was stricken with asthma which was triggered by allergies.  I have not had an asthma attack in over a year and my lungs are clear every time I go to my allergist.  I have lost 130 pounds and I am truly amazed that I do not get as many colds and have not had those awful asthma attacks.  I feel like a new person that has a new lease on life.

Thank you for your newsletter it is so inspiring.

Sandi
sabuckler@jhmi.edu

Dear Barbara,
I had weight loss surgery June 2005, and I have lost about 150 pounds. I used to have chronic bronchitis and had about four sinus infections a year. I haven't even had a cold since my weight loss. I also suffered from seasonal allergies and was also allergic to mites, dust, mold and shellfish. I have had no signs whatsoever of any of these. Since my weight loss, my immune system has had a huge boost from healthy eating habits and vitamins. What a bonus!

Marsha Barnett
barnettm@slcs.us

Dear Barbara,
In your Jan 1st issue you asked about gastric bypass patients having better luck with allergies. Sorry, but not for me.  They are still bad. Pre-op I weighed 250 pounds and am 57. Now 2 years later, Im 125 pounds lighter but my allergies are still horrible. I have no particular allergens, but I have two dogs that seem to shed fine hair constantly. And the allergens in Western Pennsylvania seem to have been getting worse and worse each year.

Well as usual, keep up the great articles. I love them.  They are interesting and informative for me. Im actually writing a story to send into you for my weight loss journey.  Thank you again.

Debbie Daugherty-Karl
Midnite549@aol.com

Hi Barbara,
 I enjoy your newsletter so much each month.  I, too, have benefited from gastric bypass surgery in regarding to allergy relief.  I had terrible sinus problems, and learned to expect to awake with a stuffy nose and headache every morning.  It has been common for me to have at least two sinus infections each year for as long as I can remember and I've taken allergy/sinus meds forever.  Since my surgery five months ago I have most 50 pounds and I have absolutely zero allergy/sinus problems and am now medication free.  The surgery/weight loss is the only explanation because nothing else has changed in my life.  I continue to be amazed at the number of improvements in my overall health. There are improvements that I never expected.  Life is good!

Angelia Braswell
angelia.braswell@intergraph.com

Hi Barbara,
I just had my surgery in October, and have seasonal allergies, so I won't know until spring whether or not my allergies problems have been alleviated, but I do have hope.  My surgeon and my family doctor both suggested to me that my allergies may be relieved or resolved with my weight loss because my nasal passages will be re-opened.  Without the extra weight, my sinuses won't be 'swollen' and I will be better able to filter the allergens!   I never experienced problems with allergies until I hit the 200-pound mark!

Gina
ggoes@nycap.rr.com

Barbara,
My allergies weren't as bad as Janelle's however I did have to take a claritin (sometimes two) everyday to control my allergies.  Since my gastric bypass surgery in January of 2005 I haven't taken a single claritin or any allergy medication.  I thought it was odd that lack of allergies and my surgery coincided with each other.

Rhonda Day
-200 lbs
RJDAY1@aol.com

Dear Barbara,
Prior to my weight loss surgery, I had severe problems when I ate lettuce.  I had been allergy tested and I am allergic to it as well as other things.  I used to have severe irritable bowel problems if lettuce touched anything I ate.  I can eat is now without any problems.

I still have problems with outside allergies like mold and ragweed. They
haven't improved and since moving to Florida, they are worse.  I'm on shots now
for them.

Peggy Brightman
callmepeggy_1@msn.com

Hi Barbara,
I have suffered major allergies all of my life.  I was skinny until I got pregnant.  When I got pregnant, I got fat.  Allergies have always been here, fat or skinny.  However they are lessening now that I am losing weight.  I had gastric bypass surgery almost a year ago.  I have eliminated offending foods such as bread, pasta, cereal, oats, dairy products (except cheese) and processed corn products out of my diet for two reasons.  Number one, I have fibromyalgia and a diet eliminating processed foods and dairy is recommended.  Number two; I have realized that it is those foods that cause me to have spiking and crashing blood sugar levels, mood swings, bloating and weight gain, often 2-3 pounds overnight!  If you talk to an allergist, you'll find that the number one offenders of allergies are dairy, wheat, and corn.  So after surgery, we are eliminating these high caloric/carbohydrate foods from our diets. It just stands to reason that those of us who are allergy prone will have a decrease in those symptoms too.  I have less rhinitis, less puffy eyes, less GI upset and less fluid gain.  I also have fewer headaches, less watery/teary eyes, and my mood swings are non-existent even though I'm menopausal. 

I'm a geriatric nurse and have worked closely with specialists for years about these symptoms. I have been on every medication on the market as well. Nothing has relieved my allergy symptoms like having the surgery has.  But it's not the surgery that did it. It was the inability to eat those food products without consequences that relieved them. 

Carol Spillman
Albuquerque, NM
starlight471@comcast.net

Barbara,
I can't say that my allergies are totally gone, but they are much better than they used to be.  I feel that it may be because every other part of my health has improved.  I think that my lung functions may have something to do with it, but I could be wrong.  I breathe and sleep so much better than I used to in the past.  I also have much more contact with the things that used to irritate me i.e. grasses, pollen, dust, rag weed, trees and such and maybe my body has learned to tolerate those things better than in the past. 

I was heavy as a child and all through my adult life, allergies were another thing that limited me. That has changed for the better and if the weight loss did it then so be it. I don't know if this helps but if it makes any sense pass it along.

Linn
linn@gallatinriver.net

 Dear Barbara,
My allergies have gotten better. As of Jan 1st I am not sick yet. Usually I have bronchitis by now or pneumonia. I used to get shots and take medication for my allergies. I notice the meds do nothing now since my allergies are not bothering me at all. I hate to stop taking them, but it seems like a waste of time and money. The same is true for my asthma medication. I have not had one asthma attack since my surgery in June.

Dee
delinsc@carolina.rr.com