Mission Statement

mr itchThis blog is dedicated to women who are suffering from histamine intolerance brought on by the hormonal fluctuations common to menopause. It is a compilation of months of research.


I am not in the medical field and this is not medical advice. I am just an ordinary woman, like you maybe, just starting menopause and newly suffering from histamine intolerance because of the changes in my hormonal balance. I wanted to compile my hours of research to make it easier for women like me to find answers.

Why are you here?

Maybe because you have been suffering multiple hot flashes at night and can’t sleep. You are having nightmares, and are restless. Maybe you are waking up with hives, or itching during the day for what seems like no reason. Your brain is in a fog, you feel dysfunctional, you can’t focus and you feel fatigued and just plain awful. You’ve done the reading, and you know you are starting menopause, so you think this is how you should feel and just get through it.

Your options seem to be to take HRT or to use herbal remedies, but you still itch and those hot flashes don’t stop.

Maybe though, you’ve been lucky enough to stumble, and I do mean stumble, over what really might be affecting you; high histamine levels brought on by the hormonal imbalance of menopause. In other words, you might be suffering from histamine intolerance. Basically, that means that what you eat is directly affecting how you feel. Foods high in histamine are triggering allergic reactions in your body. For me it’s itching. Additionally, there is a strong link to high histamine levels and hot flashes. I can attest to that link too!

Once I discovered the link between hormones and histamine, and then understood the link between histamine and food, I started making major changes to my diet and started taking vitamin supplements to help bring down my high histamine levels and my life improved dramatically.

In a nutshell, histamine intolerance is a problem the body has handling excess histamine. Up until my hormones changed with menopause, my body had no problem with anything I ate. But now my body cannot handle histamine coming in from outside sources, with those outside sources being food. So it’s not an allergy to food per se. A doctor could do a scratch test (a common test for allergies) for spinach let’s say, but my skin won’t react. That’s because I am not allergic to the food, but the histamine in the food.

I still suffer from histamine intolerance, but I am now educated about the issue and can work to, if not recover from it completely, at least control it. My itching is at a minimum depending on my diet, and my hot flashes are non-existent. My mood is even and dare I say peaceful, and my focus on tasks is returning. I still get fatigued, but I’m a high school teacher so that’s a normal state of being, but I feel relatively normal again.

And I don’t feel crazy anymore. Before I discovered what was going on with my body I thought I was going crazy. Or that I had some awful disease!

Anyone who has histamine intolerance will tell you navigating through life is trickier. It takes a lot of work to maintain an itch free day. And there are many surprises along the way. (I’m going to have to live with some mildew on my bathroom caulking because I learned the hard way bleach lights me up like a fire cracker!) But knowing what it is and how to manage it makes life so much better.

What made me start this blog?

I guess you could say I had an itch to write! I always thought it would be the great American novel…

Anyway, the real story is that I was researching my itching for at least two months when I landed on a site talking about the link between menopause and its effect on rising histamine levels. It backed up what I had already known from other sources. But what I didn’t realize at first was that it was a site advertising a med for hot flashes. I clicked on the information page and was completely horrified.

The med had nothing to do with lowering histamine. Yes, it had Vitamin C which is a known antihistamine, but the other ingredients were too many syllables to remember. But one ingredient really infuriated me. MSG!

How many people have a problem with that chemical already? And to put it in something that is supposed to minimize hot flashes?! I was incensed!

Women need to be educated. High Histamine is hidden in the lists of things that can go haywire with our bodies during menopause. Most women might never make the connection between menopause and histamine. Pharmaceutical companies who know what the issue is should be working to help women, but they really just want to sell drugs.

So that was it. I’ve learned so much and feel so much better I wanted to share my knowledge. I haven’t had a hot flash at night in weeks. I was having six a night before I figured it out. I can’t imagine what I’d be like if I were taking a drug with MSG in it.

And one other thing I’ve noticed. I have not had mood swings since I started a low histamine diet in conjunction with vitamin supplements. There is a well documented link between high histamine and depression. I think there must be a link between high histamine and mood swings but I haven’t found that specific information documented yet.

I am a teacher by profession. This is just another chance to share and teach. So if you’ve fallen over my site in your search for relief, please leave a comment and let me know if I’ve helped. I figure if I help one person, then my time is well spent.

Don’t forget to take a look around by clicking the links at the top of the page.


127 comments on “Mission Statement
  1. Rosemary says:

    I was having a bad time with nasal allergies recently and I read somewhere that the leaves of the Guava tree made into a tea is beneficial, so I tried it, and lo and behold my allergies got much better. I used 2 leaves finely chopped about an inch of fresh ginger steeped in boiling water for about five minutes.

  2. That’s great news! Guava leaves and ginger are both known natural antihistamines. I use ginger all the time. I personally might not try guava leaves based on my itchy reactions to chamomile and nettles. I’m a bit afraid of leaves! But for others reading this, please give guava leaves and ginger a try.

  3. Ellen says:

    I am so glad that you started this blog. I sent it on to many who may find it helpful.:-)

  4. Mill says:

    Hi There, I have been in the middle of menopause since last July when I had a hysterectomy.

    Since December 2012 I’ve been erupting, literally, all over my body with a rash that felt and resembled chemical burns but that also itched so badly I bled from scratching. I also had swelling of my face, eyes, ears and lips. The doctors were useless!!! It’s an allergy they insisted. I said no it’s not, it’s a histamine reaction brought on by hormonal changes due to my menopause. I was diagnosed as clinically depressed and anxious, given anti depressants, antihistamines and steroids. Finally I said enough! I saw a nutritionist and an acupuncturist and have been doing my own research each day, eliminating certain foods, trying others and educating myself.

    Slowly I am getting better bit by bit each day and don’t feel so mad and useless and unhappy as I did four months ago. Getting my life back piece by piece. Ok the list of foods I can eat is minimal, but I need to put things into my body that are non toxic for me and I juice, (gross) eat only certain fresh veg, and fruit, don’t eat chocolate (though I crave it so badly. I love chocolate), don’t eat dairy, gluten or wheat. I’ve lost 14lbs in the past six weeks. Not good as I am a very slender, petit woman and it’s all gone off my boobs, but hubby is thrilled I am not erupting every night and crying like a mad woman. (He is not too happy about the ever decreasing boobs though).

    I still need to take one 10mg Zyrtek per day due to breaking out in the evening and not being able to sleep. I must sleep because I’ve just set up a new business…yep, in the middle of all the madness I opened a little vintage boutique and I need to be on top of my game but I am hoping I can stop the Zyrtek very soon. Been on them nearly every single day for four months now and while they did not work at all before, even when I was prescribed three a day, I am now on my journey of discovery and now one 10mg per day works and together with my diet, keeps my rash to a minimum. I am also taking acidophalus and digestive enzymes and hope that when my gut is healed – because high histamine intolerance has a lot to do with undigested foods and imbalance and bad eating habits as in not eating on time etc., – I hope I can stop taking Zyrtek. I have always eaten healthily. I have been a vegetarian for nearly 20 years but as a television producer and journalist I always ate on the go and in the car so that is what I mean by bad eating habits.

    Thanks for your blog. Now I know I am not going mad and there are hormonal women out there like me. Thank God.

    Mill (Republic of Ireland)

    • No you’re not crazy! I felt the same way when it started. How could I be normal one minute and have this problem the next?

      But now, if your problem is brought on by hormones than maybe you don’t have a gut problem at all. That’s a separate issue. And taking probiotics can be triggering your histamine too. It’s similar to eating fermented foods which is really bad for histamine intolerance.

      I hope you are keeping a food diary because that’s really key and if the probiotics are making you react you’ll be able to track it. And maybe try some of the supplements I’ve used. At least the quercetin. It really stops a big reaction for me. And maybe add olive oil to your smoothies.

      Please let me know how you’re doing. I found that just knowing there are others going through what I’m going through helped me sleep better at night. Knowing your not nuts is a big relief!

    • catriona faulkner says:

      Hi Mill and everyone, I have just stumbled across this website where I have found your story.Im so sorry to hear you have been suffering but to be honest relieved Im not the only one out there, i do feel like I am loosing my mind.I have been having anaphylactic reactions to my hormones since last oct 2012. Almost exactly the same symptoms as you, with throat swelling. Im desperately looking for a doctor to help me as my GP is useless, but dont even know if I need a gyane or an immunologist or poss someone else. Im taking 10mg of an antihistamine but this is hardly touching the horrendous itching,swelling terror that each attack brings. Have you seen or been referred to any consultants, or anyone ?
      Thanks so much for putting your story online. You and me are not alone, there is probably many like us out there.

      Cat (Kent Uk)

      • Mill says:

        Hi Lucy and Cat from Kent, it’s Mill from the Republic of Ireland,

        This post and all of these lovely ladies have been such an enormous help to me too. I too got the eye roll from doctors, yes, lady docs too, and they just put me on steroids and looked at me like I was a hopeless, helpless, menopausal harpie. One even told me I was ‘stressing out,’ and should ‘relax.’ Now at this stage I nearly jumped the desk to get at him…he then suggested some Valium just to ‘tide you over.’

        Seriously, I was a wreck. Covered in all sorts of chemical like burns on my skin. Tore myself to bits until I bled. The sheets were crusted with blood each morning and my relationship was suffering too. I took pics on my camera phone and brought them to the surgery. I was hospitalised due to anaphalactic shock and I thought my life was over. I couldn’t go out, I couldn’t function, I was distraught. Then I decided to research and would be on the laptop till all hours into the early morning. I came across this site and the wonderful antihistamine chef site where I got hints, tips, recipes and above all support from you lovely ladies.

        I eat only fresh veg, brown rice, apples, pears, bananas, melon, fresh salmon, fresh cod and fresh sea bass, nothing that’s left standing as the histamine develops and definitely no tuna and mackerel as they are high in histamine, gluten free, wheat free and yeast free bread – disgusting but what can you do – no sugar, no processed foods, no chocolate and this kills me because I’m a chocoholic and no alcohol. However I discovered that Sauvignon Blanc from the Marlborough region of New Zealand is ok to drink because it’s low in histamine. apparently the region is great for growing the grapes and they need little fermentation – as I said that’s what I read and last Friday, in desperation and a bid to feel normal, bought a bottle in my local Tesco and guess what??? Had a glass and I was fine. Yippee. You see it goes to show that all those hours researching are worth it.

        I agree I have a very limited diet but my rash is getting better. It has not gone away at all, it’s just easing and it’s now at the stage where I only need to take one 10mg Zyrtek every second day. Now I know some of you will say that’s not good for me but hey, I am trying to balance my need to eat food with my need to be rash free and I reckon one 10mg every second day is worth it. I have lost weight, going from a size 10 down below to a size 8 and on top I went from a 12 to 14 down to an 8 also. I had generous boobs which are now high rise flats, like two fried eggs in a hankie but it’s a small price to pay. If I was eating cakes, biscuits and processed foods and drinking the odd glass of wine or vodka then I’d go back to my usual size but I would be in a dreadful state with the rash. If I reduce my diet further and just live on vegetables then I would be off the Zyrtek but look like an anorexic, so it’s all about balance and what works best for you.

        There are certain vegetables I cannot touch, for example aubergine and spinach because I react to their levels of histamine and I can eat baby potatoes but must stay away from large potatoes. No butter either and only red onions, no white ones. It’s a matter of learning what I can and can’t tolerate. I also eat porridge every morning with the juice of organic linseeds which I steep overnight and drink and then use the steeped linseeds over my porridge and I add Rice or almond milk and a spoonful of honey to it. I devour the honey because it’s the only sweet thing I can eat. I also steep almonds in water each night and this reduces the histamine levels in them and add them to my porridge.

        Someone said to drink nettle tea and take quercetin. I am intolerant to both. Herbal teas contain histamine due to the fermentation and quercetin contains sulphites as a preservative. I am highly intolerant to sulphites so can’t take them but I know they do work great for some women.

        Anyhow, must dash now because I need to go and drink some water. I drink about two litres a day. And yes, I pee all night, it’s a nuisance but water is good for clearing out the liver and I also take two acidophalus a day but will reduce this to one a day next month.

        This has been going on since last Christmas when I hit car crash menopause due to an emergency hysterectomy and then 5 breast biopsies which proved benign thank God but which shows up calcifications so I must be very careful and I will not take HRT due to this and due to my animal welfare ethics. Oh year I’m a veggie too but the very helpful doc told me, a dedicated veggie that I could eat fresh steak or some chicken breast, both of which I will never eat.

        This is just what I have found suits me and general chit chat and doesn’t mean it will suit everyone. It’s such a great forum for sharing and I love getting feedback and ideas from all you wonderful ladies out there who are menopausal and who are struggling with their histamine levels. I do believe, despite what the specialists say that low histamine food is the way forward…by the way my blood tests came back negative for allergies, but of course I knew they would, I don’t have allergies I have a histamine intolerance due to menopause. Seriously, I didn’t even need to go to medical college to figure that one out, but neither did you, because as women we are tuned into our bodies, we know when something is wrong and we research until we get to the bottom of it.

        I hope this sharing of information helps but I would definitely advise anyone to seek medical advice from their local GP and ask for a referral to see a specialist as well as carrying out their own research. Remember the GP is the health professional all the way and we are just sharing our experiences here and this is in no way meant to be a substitute for professional medical advice. I am not a doctor, I’m just a middle aged woman with a histamine intolerance that I believe has been brought about due to menopause.

        Have a wonderful evening ladies and thank you so much for all of your welcome support, advice and chat. It’s so great to know you’re out there.

        Mill xx

      • I think we all thought we were losing our minds until we figured it all out and then found out we weren’t the only ones.

        Whatever doctor you choose, the best way you can help yourself right now and really see results before you get to him, is to begin a restricted diet and start your food diary. You should be able to figure out quickly what is making you erupt as soon as you limit yourself to “safe” foods and then eat something that’s not.

        I knew within a day of starting my diary that I wouldn’t be eating avocado and spinach anytime soon. Chocolate, blue cheese, eggplant are still all off the list for the most part. The minute I eat chocolate my arm reacts a very certain way in a very certain spot. All documented!

        This is manageable. It takes time, patience, and diligence. And at times you have to eat a very boring menu, but if you’re disciplined and get your histamine levels down, you can start adding things back eventually.

        Have faith! You’ve found a supportive network of women suffering the same thing you are. We shall all heal together.


      • sharon says:

        I understand about the anaphylactic shock. I have to watch my food intake with other things as well. This has been so life changing. I am keeping liquid Benadryl everywhere. I have some foods I can eat, I am now trying to take multi vitamin with vit c vitamin d and it did start around menopause. I spend a lot of time researching and praying.

      • Ann says:

        Sharon you probably will enjoy this site.

        There is a para on hormonal levels with our monthly cycle.
        I tried cutting down on water the last four days and it has made a mess of my body, hives are coming out. So I am going back to drinking the same amount of water during the day and with a meal.
        Because I am on Thyroxine I have to have that first thing in the morning, but drink water straight after.


  5. Lucy says:

    Good morning!
    I have been suffering from ideopathic urticaria for the past six months with little more than shrugs and pills from the medical community. I have continually asked if there might be some connection between what my body is doing and menopause, and I generally get the eye roll (even from women physicians!!). I have been trying to do independent research on the internet, but only in the past three days have I made the connection between histamine intolerance, menopause and urticaria – which has led me to your site. I look forward to exploring your site. I am grateful for the internet and opportunities to learn from others. Thank you for creating this blog!!

    • I am so happy you’ve found us. I say us because there are now quite a few women on here that comment and share, and the amount of information and support grows daily.

      I am sure if you start your food diary today, by the end of the weekend you’ll understand exactly what you’re contending with. It all starts to make sense, and you’ll regain control over your body. I speak from experience. My arms have been itch free for about a month and a half. I still have issues with itchy legs, but I am in complete control, so when I don’t want to itch at all I know exactly what to avoid. If I’m willing to have a little itching on the legs, I’ll loosen my hold on my restricted diet and enjoy a few things that I otherwise might stay away from.

      But the operative word is control.

      My most recent experience with doctors is what really put me off what they are willing to understand about the person. I had extreme shoulder pain that drove me to a surgeon. He diagnosed an impingement, shot me up with cortisone, which a really really bad idea, and then when I went back because my shoulder didn’t respond to the six weeks of physical therapy, wanted to operate. I was about to agree to it but thought better of it and went to a second doctor, who then diagnosed frozen shoulder. There’s virtually nothing you can do for it and they don’t even know why you get it, although fifty year old women get it most often, so I’m thinking menopause might be a big part of that too, but that’s besides the point. I was about to have a surgery I didn’t need. The second diagnoses was correct as the shoulder issue resolved…virtually the same month the histamine intolerance manifested, which still is so interesting to me.

      Anyway, that’s why when the itching started I was determined to figure it out on my own. Many of the things you’ll read on here are my findings based on hours of research and what works for me. I hope you find some things that also work for you.

      • Chanda says:

        I also hv exactly same story! Unable to figure out ,now frozen shoulder 90% cured how shudder I address urteceria, suffering from last one year

  6. Jayne says:

    Like so many of the posts I have read on this site, I too am so gald to read I am not going mad!

    I have been on HRT for aprox 8 years and felt fine up until 12 months ago when I started having to take antihisamines, the problem has got considerably worse with ithcy skin, hot flushes, shortness of breath, and the chemical burning feeling described by many. I was then referred for patch tests to be told no food allergy (allergic to nickle)!

    I have now started to keep a food diary but would really apprecaite being pointed to a good referance point re. reducing hisamine in ones diet? also an idea as to what vitamins may help?

    Thanks again; at least if I am going mad I am no longer alone!!!

    • Hi Jayne and welcome to the merry band of itchy gals!

      The starting point on a low histamine diet for me was to start by looking at the myriad of lists out there and analyze what I was eating. I have a link on one of my pages to a great list. I can’t remember where it is right now…Then I basically wrote every morsel of food down, and what happened when I ate it.

      I had to work my way back in my memory when I first started though.

      I realized when I thought back to foods and when I itched I already knew quite a lot. I had always suspected chocolate, but remembered back to a day I had pizza, a salad with aged cheese and chocolate and how I itched so badly that day I wanted to rip my arm off. I also knew that I itched after my smoothie and realized it was the spinach.

      So eliminating the spinach first, I already noticed an improvement. A I ate, I noted reactions. It was easy for me because I knew what was safe and stuck with the safe stuff, so the minute I added, say cauliflower and reacted, I knew it was that because that was the only other thing I had eaten.

      I craved butternut squash and apples. Apples are high in Quercetin funny enough. And I ate tons of broccoli.

      So start with what is supposedly known as safe low histamine. Even though everyone is different and will react differently, it’s a starting point. Or at least start with foods you already know you can eat. Get to where your symptoms have really diminished and are under control before you add a suspected food back in. You’ll eat something thinking it’s safe and realize right away it’s not when you’re levels are more controlled and you can identify the culprit.

      Then when you feel good and see a big difference, experiment with one food at a time. I have healed almost entirely, but am still very careful about what I eat and still have not tried spinach or avocado. And chocolate is so far permanently off the eating list.

      Please take a look at the supplements tab for an in depth discussion on what I’ve taken, and find my index of posts and read up on olive oil and omegas.

      And don’t forget to factor in every other blessed thing you come in contact with. Remember it’s not just food. I can’t take hot showers and I don’t use a razor blade anymore to shave. I bleached the bathroom one day and thought my arm would burn off from the fumes! The stuff never touched my skin.

      Stop back by and let us know how you do. This is a very supportive group of women going through the same thing as you.

      And no, we’re not crazy after all!

  7. porcessa says:

    Just wanted to say thank you. About four years ago I started getting itchy fingers and feet at night. I also suffered from insomnia. Sometimes I felt as if a switch went on in my head and I couldn’t even put my head on the pillow without panicing. I would hive up for no reason and sometimes get panic attacks when driving. Occasionally I would get chemical moods, some of which lasted days. As my mother suffered from depression after birth and also through menopause, I thought I was going mad.
    I decided to keep a diary and realised some of mood swings were linked to my erratic periods and ovulation cycle. I can now feel a mood swing coming on and take anti-histamine before I hive up.
    I haven’t tried a low histamine diet yet. I’m veggie and all my fave foods seem to be on the “don’t” list but I do take a menopause targeted supplement as well as Evening Primrose Oil.
    I’m glad I found your site as no other women I have tried to speak to seem to have had these symptoms. It’s a great comfort to me as I know others are going through this. Just knowing that means I can take control back of my life again and know where all these weird changes are coming from.

  8. A says:

    You are Godsend!

  9. Just the thought that their might be a connection to the hives and other symptoms, makes me feel better :) It is amazing how so many people have their opinions and then doctors (3 to date) will not agree when asked, “Would this be connected to menopause?”

    I knew my life cycle began changing in the last year, with mood swings, hot flashes here and there, etc. I do not have the night sweats and so far (cross my fingers) hot flashes often. Even my monthly cycle begins the same time every month but, for 1 day.

    However, all of a sudden in June, a hive (what I thought was a bug bite) popped up. Then the next day, 3 would pop up in another location. Some would itch, others did nothing but create a red circle. Every day since this began, I watch these hives come and go like a magic trick. Night time is the worst with the itching. I did find research on the connection of histamine and why the itching of hives may be more severe at night. Since I have 3 kids in High School, I hear from many that “stress” is the problem.

    Currently, I’m on a two month trial run from an allergist of OTC allergy medication… JOKE! It has done nothing and I have found days since the start of that to be the worst I’ve had since this began. So, thank you for having this blog and for all the people who have commented above.

    I’m going to grab a journal and go for it !! It makes sense and is worth a try.

    • Kathie, I hope keeping a journal turns out to be as revealing to you as is did for me. I knew within days of starting it that I was onto the right reason for my problems.

      And you reminded me how awful the nights were. Even worse than the days. I was afraid to even try to go to sleep. I had six or seven hot flashes a night, unbelievable itching, and the urge to pee four times a night. (That’s also a symptom)

      I wish you speed in healing and hope you keep in touch and let us know how it goes. Every time someone stops by and leaves a comment, it makes the blog more popular and raises it up in the search engines so more women can find it. So you just did your part to help get the word out!

      • Lucy Hazlehurst says:

        I just wanted to check in with an update. About this time last year I was overwhelmed with hives and eventually diagnosed with chronic urticaria.

        Having never been allergic to anything I was in fear and shock. Doctors put me on prednisone – lots of it (and later acted like it was my fault my bone density was low.)

        Several bits of research conspired to lead me to your site (fortunately) and keeping a food diary led me to cut out the things that were overloading my body with histamine (my five basic food groups at the time: greek yogurt, eggplant, spinach, black tea and wine). I cut all the histamine laden foods from my diet immediately – and the hives disappeared in (I am not kidding) ten days.

        Over time I have experimented with adding foods back in, and I have come to love my non-histamine foods (although I miss the black tea terribly). I have a recognizable dramatic flush when I indulge in a histamine heavy food, but that is rare.

        It doesn’t seem possible that it is just a coincidence that my hive outbreak coincided with my entrance into full menopause. I hope your blog will come to the attention of medical practitioners. It was certainly a godsend to me!


      • Lucy, thank you so much for the update. It’s this kind of validation that other women need to read. It’s not just me saying it, but someone else who’s had success getting the hives under control and realizing the link between menopause and histamine intolerance. I’m not surprised it took only ten days to get the hives under control. I knew within a day of starting my food diary that I was on the right track. One bite of avocado and one hellacious itch a minute later was all I needed to convince myself.

        Your pre histamine-awareness diet actually made me smile. You could not have been eating more histamine rich foods had you tried. My diet was similarly histamine rich. I was putting handfuls of spinach in my morning smoothie and eating avocado and chocolate every day.

        My food list has expanded back to a somewhat normal diet, although I stay away from certain foods, and pay for it when I endulge. I’ve actually grown to love white tea, and can drink that without a problem.

        I’ve learned to embrace my lifestyle changes to ensure an itch free life, and hope others are finding success too. Your comments reassure me that the relationship between histamine intolerance and menopause is a reality, and if more women knew they would not have to suffer. When big pharma does not control the world and doctors go back to healing, maybe a blog like mine could be relegated to the dustbin. Until that happens, it’s up to us!

        Thanks again!

  10. Sad but true says:

    I’ve just stumbled across your site and I am so thrilled that there may be help for my problem. I have suffered headaches most of my life but never really made a connection with food until the headaches worsened in the last 5 years. I am 55 years of age and started menopause about 2 and half years ago. My headaches are all the same, they start in the morning before I’ve gotten out of bed and are concentrated in my sinus cavity, particularly over my right eye. The pain is unbearable and at times makes me sick to my stomach. My heart races and I feel hot one minute and cold the next. Constipation has been an issue for me since I started menopause. But with each headache, the same thing happens, I end up on the toilet for most of the day, having multiple bowel movements (not diarrhea – healthy movements) and once I’m done, if my stomach can handle a Benedryl and some water I eventually fall asleep .. but it’s not usually until very late that night or in the wee hours of the morning. The next day I’m good, tired but headache free. My headaches are chemically induced as well. Perfumes or cleaning chemicals can really bring them on.
    My gastro specialist has told me I have a torturous bowel and that’s my problem, that I need fibre but Metumucil just makes me feel gassy and certain fruits and greens seem to make my headaches worse. I think I know why now. I was thinking I had candida and I probably do but I think the bigger problem is the histamine in my foods. 5 years ago I gave up dairy and gluten .. except every now and then I break down and have a piece of bread or some cookies and when I do that I feel terrible either the next day or the day after. Tomato sauce on my rice pasta also seems to bring on my sinus congestion and spinach in my smoothies potato chips or the organic sausages I sometimes eat and thai food that I love but probably is made with a soy based sauce.
    I really think I am histamine intolerant. I’m just not sure if I was histamine intolerant first or if it has been brought on by my other digestive issues (candida, chronic constipation) I don’t drink tea as a rule but I do have a coffee every morning – sometimes another later in the day. I drink almond milk and eat a dairy free oatmeal/flax/hemp seed cereal for breakfast. I do eat alot of fish and many times feel poorly the next day. It’s so frustrating!
    I was going to start taking B6 but I’ve read alot about B6 toxicity that can last for years so I’m pretty freaked out by that. But I have started to take NAG and try to take Vit C as well.
    I look forward to reading more about what helps people with this problem .. and hope I can stay strong when I have a craving for bread or cookies! It’s just not worth it!
    Thank you for any helpful hints or tips … these headaches have ruled my life for too long. My husband of 31 years has been pretty good but I know he’s tired of them too and I don’t blame him. I’ve spent a fortune on Naturopaths, Osteopath’s, Chiropractors and supplements and would love to live the rest of my life headache free or almost!

    • I completely understand how debilitating headaches can be. I just got over a three day migraine…I hope…

      Headaches can most definitely be triggered by intestinal issues, so I’m hoping if you start to correct that problem maybe the headaches will resolve. I know constipation and other bowel issues can look like irritable bowel but may really be histamine intolerance.

      Jump into keeping a food diary and I guarantee if food is your issue it will reveal itself quickly. Then you can eliminate those foods until you heal and add them back in later.

      Take a look at my supplements page. Vitamin C is a biggie for me! But there is a whole regimen I stick to that has really helped get my issues under control. And I even mention there that I don’t supplement with B6 because of the dangers of toxicity.

      And look into eating lots of nutritionally sound anti-histamine foods.

      I wish you much luck on this journey. I know the body and mind are able to heal themselves if they are supported in the process. I am living proof of this. Please keep in touch and let me know if you see any change once you identify whether what you’ve learned and done has helped.


  11. Sad but true says:

    Thank you so much for your prompt reply. I’m having abit of a rough morning. Ate some frozen spring rolls 2 nights ago and a handful of Miss Vicky’s potato chips yesterday afternoon. All this time I was thinking it was the excessive salt levels .. but it must be the histamine in this stuff! What are your thoughts on Primrose Evening oil? I have some in the fridge but haven’t been taking it.

    Some allergy tests I had done over a year ago said I was allergic to apples, ginger, brazil nuts as well as most beans. And dust! Wish I could give up dust! ha, ha.

    I think my oldest son has food histamine issues too .. he gets debilitating headaches but trying to convince him of the connection may be difficult. He loves me dearly but is starting to think I’m a bit of a nutbar with all the health stuff I go on about. I guess he would be more likely to listen if my headaches went away .. that would be proof in the pudding :)

    • Goodness knows what can be in frozen spring rolls or those potato chips! The additives in foods can be very reactive. I ate a couple of Reese’s pieces one day and thought I’d go crazy with the itch on my arm. It was the yellow dye that caused it that day.

      Apples and ginger are great foods for intolerance so I’m sorry to hear you can’t eat those things.

      Ya know, I remember the day I explained my discovery of histamine intolerance to my family and I was sure they all thought I was nuts. It’s so obscure and awkward…so tell the son to do his own research. Histamine intolerance has been linked to anorexia and depression too. Who would think it?

      I used evening primrose for years but won’t touch it now. I think it might have created an omega 3/6 imbalance which made the inflammation in my body worse. If you search my site, you can find specific posts on it.

      You hang in there. Don’t be influenced by people who can’t understand your pain. Do what is right for yourself. You can whip this! But please stay away from processed foods. They have lots of awful stuff in them. Even when you see spices or flavors in the list of ingredients who knows what that really is! Eat whole foods.

      Ok, let me know now it goes.

  12. Sad but true says:

    Thank you so much for your kind words and support. I am lucky, my family loves me … but I’ve had so many ‘ideas’ of what my headaches may be caused by and tried so many different things to get rid of them that even the most sane person would say what the heck? And the fact that I’m afraid to plan things, going out with friends, taking a trip .. and now I’m unemployed. The thought of working for a new employer not knowing when these mysterious headaches will hit me is terrifying.

    But interestingly enough I remember that my headaches were really bad when I was a very young girl. I’d be at school and they’d call my mother to come get me and I’d throw up all the way home. I wonder if it was a hormone thing because once I started menstruating the headaches continued but not near as severe or often.

    And about 5 years ago my doctor found a large goiter on my thyroid. I had some biopsies done and they couldn’t determine if it was cancer or not. But in the meantime I went on a dairy/gluten free diet because I was started to connect the dairy with the headaches. Parmesan cheese or cheesecake would set off the worst headache ever! Well low and behold my goiter started to shrink dramatically and my headaches improved. I wasn’t getting them nearly as often! But when I started menopause they increased in frequency again and now I’m sure there’s a connection with the hormones. And the histamine levels of certain foods has to be it!

    So I’ve bought the Quercetin – didn’t get the one with the bromine because I think pineapple sets me off and I’ve got the Olive oil and Vit C so here goes nothing! :)

  13. Judy says:

    OMG – I thought I was absolutely going out of my mind. October 27th – I woke up with an eye infection – green pouring out of the tear duct- (never in 52 years have I had an eye infection). Immediately put on a steroid. October 28th – herpes blister on lip (those very common for me). Over counter med -herpes healed itself. Mild case of hives appeared – very unusual for me – wouldn’t go away. By Sunday the 10th I was covered from head to foot in hives. Hospitalized and ended up with valium to settle the shaking and then IV steroid to calm itching. Saw dermatologist on the 11th – prescribed steroid and also gave a high dosage prescription to blow out the herpes virus. Dermatologist feels that the herpes has something to do with itching. Steroid has made itching worse – so I have stopped taking it. Now no chemicals and trying to walk this thing out. I also was involved in a situation which brought me to a place of stress that I never ever have been – so someone suggested that I may have adrenal fatigue as well. Oh yeah and I am 52 in the throws of menopause – hot flashes HAD stopped up until this thing appeared and now I have hot flashes and hives. This appears to be as babble – but I just don’t know where to start – but I feel that I have found peace in a very very dark place. I am over the top right now – I feel hope – now where do we go from here – how do I get started….

    • Well, it sounds like you need to get your body clean and stable. Personally, and I am not a doctor, I would make sure my diet is very clean. I would not be eating any processed foods or be drinking any alcoholic beverages. So only fruits and vegetables. I’m vegetarian so I don’t eat meat, but you might, so just make sure it’s fresh.

      Drink lots of water to flush your system.

      Most importantly, I would add olive oil into my diet big time if I were you. I use two tablespoons in a smoothie in the morning and take a teaspoon before I go to bed at night. I also use it on my legs, which is a great way to up the amount that gets into your body without getting the fat. So if you can tolerate it, use it like a moisturizer. (I wipe off the excess with a paper towel before bed.)

      It’s the polyphenols in the olive oil that’s important to the adrenal fatigue, so you can eat fruits and veg that are high in that. Cantaloupe is a good one. I forget what other ones are really high.

      It sounds like you stumbled upon me more for the adrenal fatigue than histamine intolerance, so maybe you can search the words adrenal fatigue on my site to find all that I’ve written. I know I’ve researched and written tons about it, but for the life of me I can’t remember all of it right now!

      I think steroids are awful things and I have never heard of anyone who’s ever said gee I’m glad I took those. I hope you heal quickly. You sound like you’re at your wits end as most of us have been. But as I say over and over to the many gals who have shown up here, you can regain control of your health and heal. Stay positive and have faith that you can get through this. That’s half of it.

      Please come back and tell me how you’re doing.

  14. Judy says:

    Ok so I went to my naturopatho – today – we discussed vitamins D and B – liver and kidney functionality and will also be working on adrenals – but she said that it does not appear to be the case. Menopause and hives – big big connection. She said that the eye situation may well have been the only way “out” for whatever infection was going on at the time. So we are doing some testing and I will let you know as we progress. Thank you so much for allowing me to be here.

    • So let me understand you. She does not think there is a connection to your adrenals and the infection? But she does agree that there is a connection between menopause and hives?

      Maybe you can pass on the blog’s address to her and have her take a look. I’d love to get input from a naturopath.

      Yes, please let me know how it all goes. It’s a pleasure to have you here and I look forward to hearing about your progress.

  15. Chris says:

    Having done fair bit of research, this could be useful to some of those who have migraines or other health problems linked to histamine:

    For a week or two week trial period, avoid drinking fluids with meals and even avoid them for 30 minutes or longer before and after meals. This may alleviate histamine related health problems. If it does help reduce problems, the explanation as to why it helps may be as follows:

    a. After a certain age, the body produces less gastric fluid or stomach acid.
    b. Drinking any sort of fluids with meals can dilute the stomach acid further.
    c. Food entering the colon which is not digested as best it could be, may cause inflammation of the colon.
    d. Histamine may be involved in the inflammation process.
    e. Histamine left over from the inflammation process may float circulate in the blood stream causing other problems such as migraine.
    f. Histamine left over from the inflammation process may end up using up the some of the body’s store of histamine neutraliser – diamine oxidase.
    g. Running low on diamine oxidase may mean there isn’t enough to neutralise histamine when it is needed.

    Minimising intake of histamine foods may further help reduce histamine related health problems.

    It is believed that estrogen causes an increase in histamine. Apparently in the early stage of menopause, there is a rise in estrogen.

    Hope it helps.

    • Wow, so much good information here. Thank you so much. Can you provide a link to where you came up with the information on drinking water and its relationship to histamine? It makes a lot of sense to me.

      Also, that’s very interesting about estrogen spiking in the early stage of menopause. I am a migraine sufferer too, and I’ve always known that the spike in estrogen caused my headaches. I know estrogen drops during menopause but this is the first time I’ve read that it rises at the beginning. That would certainly explain a lot for me.

      Over the course of this last year I’ve noticed my histamine intolerance changes with whatever cycle is left that I have, and I did notice it was worse when I thought my estrogen was higher, but I never could figure out why the histamine intolerance was triggered in the first days of menopause because I thought that’s when my estrogen dropped off. Funny enough now, that I’m close to being through it all, my intolerance rarely rears its ugly head, which makes sense because my estrogen is probably really low. And when estrogen is low hot flashes are high, and they’re my nemesis now.

      So thank you. That’s a big piece of the puzzle. I’m off to research!

  16. Karen says:

    YES YES YES your blog has helped and THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for taking your personal time to make certain other women as myself get to the bottom of their troubles. My research started with “why does my nose immediately get stuffy with one glass of wine” leading me through other sites that has defined and explained other symptoms I encounter, and landing me here on your site. I am coming to the other side of the horrific hormonal menopausal/histamine headache side effect I was having, but nonetheless I am still experiencing other symptoms so I am benefiting immensely from this information even now. I am very emotional about this right now, because it means I can begin to heal and live healthier. You making this available was such a selfless act, I can’t thank you enough.

    • Karen,

      Thank you so much for your acknowledgement. I get such a jolt of happiness when I read a post like yours!

      Keep in touch and keep me updated on your healing. I love to hear when someone is making real progress.


      • Gillian says:

        Hello. I came off HRT 6 years ago and started having mild, hot flushes and night sweats. My waistline also increased but apart from that, I was in good shape. I have been taking Proxetine for anxiety for years and am happy on it.

        I went for a walk with a friend end of August and a day or so later developed a rash on both arms in the bend. I mentioned it to a nurse as I was having vaccinations for a trip aboard. She felt it was probably just a reaction to something I touched on my walk. The rash and itching continued so I changed my detergent and soaps and shampoos in case it was that. I bought anti-itching creams from the pharmacy – we all know our GPs are rubbish!

        I travelled to Indochina for some weeks and the rash got worse, my chest, arms and back were the worst. I used the anti-itch creams. The rash improved eventually and the itching was not so bad. I wondered if it was a heat reaction.

        I am now home again in the UK but the rash and itching is getting worse. And my night sweats too. My sleep is poor too.

        I decided to investigate these symptoms myself and came across this site. Since my flushes have become worse, I now feel the itching is connected to menopause and have found comments on here helpful.

        I drink a lot of black tea and do like wine. I always drank red but because we have had a hot summer, I changed to chilled white wine. Surely the two things I like to drink can’t cause these symptoms?

        I am now going to try to diet (after Christmas), so will be cutting out alcohol and processed foods and sugar. Not sure if it is worth seeing my doctor to ask for an appointment with a dermatologist. Any thoughts?


      • Well, if it’s histamine intolerance cutting out the black tea, wine and sugar and processed foods is a good start. But you might need to cut out other, healthier foods too because they contain high amounts of histamine or release histamine into your system.

        If you’re not in a rush to get to a doctor, then start an elimination diet and a food diary and see if that helps. You might just be able to control it all yourself and heal without trying to figure out which doctor to even go to!

        Take a look at my last post (http://themenopausehistamineconnection.wordpress.com/2014/01/07/i-think-im-histamine-intolerant-so-what-do-i-do-now/) as to how to get started and see what you think. I think if it is a histamine issue, you’ll know within days.

        And yes, the black tea and wine have to go if you go this route. They are both big offenders!

        Good luck and let me know what happens!


  17. Chris says:

    Wandering if you or any one else has tried my suggestion of no fluids 1 hour before during and after meals in order to avoid diluting stomach acid and avoid causing a histamine release (which uses up valuable histamine neutraliser, diamine oxidase or DAO) and if so, whether the improvement in histamine related health issues were significant as I would expect.

    I really believe fluids around meal times can be a significant contributor in histamine intolerance and so am interested in outcomes for anyone trying the suggestion.

    To anyone trying the suggestion, meals include mean breakfast and lunch as well as the evening meal.

    Great site. Hope to contribute by putting forward my suggestion

    My suggestion is here:

    PS I’m a bloke who came by the site looking for a link between menopause and histamine

    • I’ve actually been more aware of when I drink and eat now based on your information but because my histamine intolerance is under control I wouldn’t be able to say if it’s helped me.

      Thanks for revisiting the site and following up. Maybe we can generate some responses.

      Anyone out there have anything to share?

  18. Chris says:

    Thanks for supporting my attempt to get feedback on my suggestion to avoid fluids 1 hour either side and during meals including breakfast, lunch and evening meal.

    I appreciate it.

    If you don’t mind me asking, you say your histamine intolerance is under control at the moment, does that also mean you are relatively problem free at the moment i.e. no hives and no itching? Are there any health issues at the moment whether you think they are connected to histamine or not?

    Also, are the hives you mentioned on December 16th 2013 as being a nemesis not a problem at the moment?

    Were the hives you mentioned on Dec 16th actually at problem levels and if so did you see an improvement in their occurrence after Dec 16th.

    If you did see any improvement in the hives, could they be attributed in some degree to your being aware of fluids around food and to you applying the principle?

    Just wanting to understand.

    • Ann says:

      Avoiding drinking at meals times I think is a mistake, I drink cooled water.
      If you have a hot meal high in fat try to drink a warm water to help the digestion
      of the fats.

  19. Chris says:

    Sorry, where’s my head at!

    In my last message, meant to ask about hot flashes not hives. So please read hot flashes where it says hives.

  20. ro says:

    Maybe someone already commented on this but food combining is also a key factor for histamine intolerance. So let’s say you eat brown rice for a week and suffer no reaction. So you add spinach. No reaction. But when you add beef, you have a reaction and you stop eating beef. But the issue wasn’t exactly the beef. It wss the beef AND the spinach that caused the reaction. Maybe you can eat beef without spinich just like you can eat spinach without beef. I sugguest you seek advice from a dietician or a doctor. I’m stopping my bio identical HRT because histamine levels are wrecking havoc on my digestive system since I started taking them. Hope this helps.

    • I’ve never seen anything about food combining. That’s an interesting point. I’ll have to do some research on that. You’ve peaked my curiosity.

      Thanks so much for the input. Very valuable insight!

      Edit: I’ve since thought a bit about this and wonder if it’s not just the whole filling your bucket thing. Combining would indicate foods interact with each other to form a reaction.

      But let’s say you eat spinach and it doesn’t seem to do anything, but it’s filling the histamine bucket. When you eat spinach and beef the next time, you’ve added a lot more histamine in one sitting so your bucket overflows. Was it the combination of foods or that both foods have a lot of histamine and together they pushed you over the edge?

    • Ann says:

      As I have replied before the beef if it is freshly cooked should be fine, it depends if it is out of the freezer? and warmed up…….If I cook hamburgers with top quality low fat minced meat and eat them fresh with vegetables, I am fine. However, if there are any left and I eat those same hamburgers the next day, look out Ann. If I forget like I used to I used to have to go running for the Claratine [Anti histamine] By the way I am in Perth, Western Australia. Is this an American site by any chance?

  21. Jayne Fytche says:

    Im a 56yr old peri menopausal women who has developed the dreaded hives…I have just had a battery of blood tests and awaiting results from the them..mean while I have just had 4 really good days no hives no itching….until last night …I proceeded to break out in a mad hivey itch on both elbow areas an around my bra area..I was distraught as I thought I was getting over it….I feel its nickel related too as I have had to remove all my hand made silver jewellery..which ive worn for a year previous to this madness…im so fed up I get depressed and anxious thinking Ive got something seriously wrong with me..this blog has helped me get things into perspective a bit…its a relief to hear im not the only person with this problem.

    • Lucy Hazlehurst says:

      You are not alone! Try the food elimination process. I went cold turkey on any food that was high in histamines. After months on prednisone and $2000 in doctor bills, eliminating histamines was the only thing that worked. And it worked fast. In a few days I had great relief, in ten days the hives were mostly gone. By three weeks only the memory remained. Once in a while I indulge in my favorite – a strong cup of black tea – and I can immediately feel a flush, so I know tea was a culprit. I pray that it works for you!

      • Validation!

        Thank you Lucy for saying exactly what I’ve been saying for a year! I know it can work. The problem is convincing everyone to be strict enough and vigilant enough to let it work. I’ve told people over and over that you can see a difference in just days.

        I can’t thank you enough for reinforcing the message!

      • Ann says:

        Lucy another food item that is high in histamines is processed meats, poly or bacon and anything that is not freshly cooked. I should have added in my looong email. One thing I used to do was cook up double and freezing half the food, for those times I was in a hurry.
        That for a person with a low tolerance to histamine is a big no no! You see if you do not eat meats that are cooked within 20 minutes of them being cooked, the histamine levels in the meat rises and rises. So I cannot eat any left over food stuffs. Fish for instance if it is tinned that is disaster waiting to happen. No tinned fish ladies. However, one thing that has come to the attention of dieticians and nobody can explain it yet, is commerical frozen crumbed fish doesn’t cause a problem…….why I do not know. Perhaps because it is cooked straight away after it is gutted is the thought. But no tinned fish ladies PLEASE. I used to use tinned red salmon to make fish cakes and no sadly I cannot eat it! sigh.

    • Kathie Kunish says:

      Hives have been my main issue. I did try eliminating histamines from my diet without “much” luck. I use the term “much” because, there were foods that increased my hive reaction… BUT, still have yet to find a “food/ingredient” to blame. There is NO DOUBT in my mind that the hives are connected to menopause, for me, and I believe in combination, food/ingredient & stress. I’m another one of those people who spent $1000.00 for doctors to check everything and not listen to me when I would ask, “Do you think this could be connected to menopause?” My latest gynecologist told me, “I believe you. I’ve learned to rule out nothing when it comes to women and menopause. Each women is different in their reactions to the hormonal changes.” Thank you new doctor & this blog :)

      • Sounds like you’re on the right track. But remember, to figure out the foods that are reactive you must keep a food diary. It’s a miracle you found a doctor who is open to the idea. And stress is a huge trigger unto itself.

        Please keep in touch and let us know if you wind up educating your doctor!

      • Ann says:

        Kathie hi! have you been tested for a Thyroid complaint, in other words you may have an auto immune issue like me!
        Good luck!

    • Yes Jayne there’s lots of us out there!

      I think recognizing it could even be your rings is a great first step. Everything needs to be analyzed. I hope you’re keeping a food diary.

      Hang in there! Keep in touch and let us know how you’re doing. You’re not alone. Stop by anytime!

    • Ann says:

      Hi Jayne, I was also under the same impression with my bra and rings! Then I realized it is the pressure of the bra especially if you have had a meal high in histamines! I am wearing my rings now, and have gone up a size in the bra department! sigh!!

  22. Jayne Fytche says:

    I will try now to take more notice when I have a flush and then a hives episode…had one last night when I got in from work…id eaten Ryvitas with Dairylea cheese triangles…just 2 of each..axnd ax few low fat crisps… had to take a piriton before bed :(

    • Cheese triangles and crisps?! Either one of those could do it!

      If you want to stop the hives you must give up the idea that only a few of anything is ok. I had one Reeses piece last year and itched for hours afterwards. The stuff they put in processed foods is like poison to a histamine intolerant person.

      A food diary is a must!

  23. Jayne Fytche says:

    Just got home from work…no crisps or cheese triangles..and will definitely be starting a food diary…I have drunk lots of water at work so far so good..,.

    • Ann says:

      Hi Jayne. Try avoiding all cheeses and drinking water more often! Avoid wine and beer like the plague too. I have also to avoid Mint Sauce when I do a roast lamb, as the vinegar is loaded with histamines.

  24. Lucy Hazlehurst says:

    Jayne, I wish you the best!

  25. Jayne Fytche says:

    Thanks Lucy…..my GP just called and gave me the all clear from my blood tests……and only issue is my hormone levels…indicating I am now smack bang in the middle of the menopause !!!!! Explains LOTS of things…..just advised herbal remedies as I can’t do HRT due to my sisters history of breast cancer…..so I will be trying the food diary etc and keep popping anti hist until the itch goes ….hopefully asap :/…:)

  26. Jayne Fytche says:

    Ive just popped my silver earings in as a bit of a tester…..fingers crossed I won’t react……piriton at the ready :0

  27. Jayne Fytche says:

    No not heard of it…I.ll look into it….is it herbal.

  28. Jayne Fytche says:

    Thanks…without even checking ive already asked my sister who is shopping to call at thr health store to get some Quercitin….I will conquer it :) :)

  29. Ann says:

    At a young 69 going on 40 I can say with a looong issue of heat related problems I’ve never had any symptoms of change of life. I feel so sorry for women that have. I introduced sweet potato and drank more h2o and felt so fine while my friends suffered.

    Add to the Thyriod issue that started around 30 years of age I then started to get IBS, was diagnosed with it, had 4 colonoscopies! As a child I would suddenly get a swelling a tiny blisters on my hands and the doctor told my mother he did not know what was the cause.

    Two years ago I woke up with massive sized hives joined together, they could erupt anywhere between my big toe to the top of my head and all stops in between!

    Allergy specialist tried several tests, then sent me for the Emperor of all blood tests. Results started filtering back over a four month period. I’ve had many other tests. I said to my specialist this is an auto immune problem isn’t it? Yes I believe you are correct he replied. To date I have 3 now my hives are my 4th.

    I have used my body as a Guinea pig. Here is what I have found after all these years. [Husband helped, has a science degree is a civil engineer.]

    I have a missing enzyme in my liver. [Need a blood test to diagnose this] My IBS that I have suffered from for nearly 20 years I can control. I do this by avoiding food with histamine. Why? Because I found out painfully on a cruise that my stomach and intestines were swelling with Hives. [Hives do not just appear on the external skin you see.] They can appear in the Virgina, pubic regions as well. The New Zealand honey sooths the stomach hives I have found, having waken up in the middle of the night in such pain and taking anti acid the doctors prescribed made it much worse. I stopped the anti acid and listen to my body, I nibbled on a cracker in the middle of the night with honey on. It really does heal.

    Pressure [tight jeans] brings Hives on. So out went my tight fitting clothing and now I have lose clothing. Thinking back over the last 30 years I can relate to the times I only drank wine to be sociable. I stopped about 16 years ago as I felt green afterwards I mean green like being sea sick. I also stopped eating dairy foods. This was because I was getting an IBS reaction after eating dairy. To make a long experience much shorter, it is what the industry does to dairy/commercial foods that I was intolerant to.

    Butter for instance, especially cheese, which I loved. Once again fermented food. The Histamines affects the blood vessels to, so you need to see your doctor/Specialist about that side affect. Avoiding all fermented foods, not dairy as a whole, but drinking more water, less tea. Caffeine is an issue and probably that is why I hated any of the fizzy drinks that teenagers love to drink!

    Good old H2O, vitamen C [about 500mg a day] [not on an empty stomach] Vit B6 once a week. Pro-biotic a couple of times a week, [which makes vit B in the gut] together with avoiding most histamine foods and my life is nearly back to normal! I say most histamine foods, tomato has histamine in but I don’t seem to have a problem with tomatoes. However, Avacado is a BIG NO NO for my body; it is a case of getting to know your own individual body. What affects some doesn’t others. For instance for years I had no cereal for breakfast, today I avoid brown bread [has malt in it] and cereals with malt or are fermented. I use Organic Rice Milk with my cereals, make my oats in winter with water. I cook with Rice milk and or water. I use a non dairy margarine for all my cake baking. Make some lovely cakes! No butter is required.

    I hope I have helped a little, please listen to your body as each one of us is different, but I am totally convinced that people that suffer from Irritable Bowel Disease suffers from a low tolerance to Histamine. As I said to my specialist by the time a person is prepped for a colonoscopy there is no Histamine left in the gut, so all symptoms are gone and remain so for about 7 – 14 days after the proceedure. That is why the medical profession cannot find the cure for IBS!!

  30. Ann says:

    PS: I forgot I take anti histamine when I need to, I have gone from two a day to two a week, I have not come out in huge hives for a year, but tiny ones if I have been sitting for long periods of time, [pressure] and not drinking enough H2o. Eating out can be an issue as we don’t know what is put in the food, so I usually take an anti Histamine prior to eating out.
    Always take my Vit C and B6 with food. I also take Calcium tablets as all women should for our bones, and they are no good unless they are absorbed with the help of D6 daily.

  31. Ann says:

    PPS: Typing error……….that should read D3 daily with Calcium tablets.

  32. ro says:

    I would stay away from comercially crumbed frozen fish. Fresh is always best. Also, has anyone tried Swanson’s DAOSin? It’s working for me. There are other brands of this on the market but they are more expensive. I don’t abuse foods even though this enzyme helps. However, eating is no longer a negative experience for me. Finally I can enjoy eating without worrying that I’m going to suffer a bad reaction.

    • I never tried the enzyme because it is made from an animal product and I am vegan. I’ve had readers report mixed results. But I have to tell you, when I was at my worst, I really wanted to try it.

      • Ann says:

        Sorry you do not understand me, you need a blood test to find out if your Liver has a missing enzyme. I am NOT EATING AN ENZYME!!! People that are vegetarian will have a very limited diet if they have a Histamine problem. I can only suggest people with serious hives need to look up on the internet for themselves the issues with a LOW TOLERANCE TO HISTAMINES. When you read all there is to know about intolerance to Histamine you will then begin to understand what I am saying here. As I understand it from my specialist hives internally are very very serious, the hives can extend to the throat and block off the airways. Rather like a reaction some people have to Peanuts.

    • Ann says:

      Yes in most cases, however, if you buy it from the fisherman yes, but if you buy fish from the supermarket or shop NO. You do not understand what I am saying. Fish after it is gutted starts to produce Histamines. We used to be eaters of fresh fish, the most expensive fish from the supermarket. However, it soon became evident when I understood fish and the time lapse of it being gutted that there is an issue if you eat fish from the supermarket that had been gutted 24 hours earlier. I am only trying to help not hinder. I only eat crumbed frozen fish, Birdseye now and again at home for a lunchtime snack. I have never eaten shelled fish either. Have never liked it. The fish we have been eating is $70 perkgs or 2.2lbs for those that do not know decimal weight and measures. One kgs is equal to 2.2lbs.

  33. What Ro was referring to is the DAO supplement some people take to help synthesize histamine because they are not producing the DAO enzyme properly themselves. My reply was directed at her question asking if anyone has tried the supplement.

    The DAO supplement Ro is referring to is usually synthesized from porcine livers…pig body parts if you will… I am vegan and therefore will not take that particular supplement.

    • Ann says:

      Personally I don’t think I would like to try that either,
      [I have to take 100mg of Thyroxine] daily, This is an auto immune problem.
      Have you been tested? It needs a full blood count, they take a lot of blood and the results are slow to come back. However, at least I found out how I can stop the Hives. I had a severe case thick big hives joined together from my toes to my head, not at the same time, but usually on my stomach and thighs and internally. I am also sure this is the cause of Irritable Bowel disease.
      Taking the anti Histamine, Vit C and Vit [B6 should only be taken with a Doctors approval] I have stopped taking anti Histamine twice a day now, the most I need to take now is perhaps twice a week. I think each of us perhaps has a slightly different cause, but my specialist is no fool. He says it is an auto immune problem. So any of the ladies who have already one auto immune problem, which can be Thyroid or Diabetic have a blood test to find out if you have the missing enzyme. Good luck!

  34. Chris says:

    To Jayne Fytche and anyone else experiencing histamine related health problems, I wander if my suggestion above can help you, I would hope so.

    My suggestion is to avoid fluids 1 hour either side and during meals including breakfast, lunch and evening meal.

    Would be great to have some feedback from anyone who has tried it.

    I really think avoiding fluids in this way is the single most important change everyone with histamine problems can and should make. If I am right and it works for the majority, one really good way to highlight it and get the message over is for individuals to give feedback. So come on all, try it and leave your feedback.

    My suggestion dated December 16, 2013 is here:

    Good luck.


    • Ann says:

      Hi Chris. I have found the absolute opposite, the more plain water I drink the better for my body as it helps cool it off, especially if anyone has IBS, this could be dangerous cutting down on water. When the intestines need to get rid of food with too much histamine in, the major organs seek out water stored to send it to the bowel. I ended up in hospital a few years ago because I did not drink enough water and was dehydrated and passed out for two hours. I ended up on a drip for four hours. So be very very careful when you say avoiding fluids.




    • Chris, I’m curious if you don’t mind me asking, are you histamine intolerant?

      It is such a complex issue I find it difficult to think limiting fluids before or during meals would have such a major impact overall. But even putting that aside, for many women eating is just one facet of the problem. What you put on your body and what you even inhale can trigger reactions.

      I think that’s why you’re not getting the feedback you’d like. If it were as simple as changing how and when you drink water, you’d see all kinds of comments. But it’s not so simple.

  35. Chris says:

    Dale, in answer to your question, I am histamine intolerant/sensitive and this is not likely to change because of age and genetics reasons.

    For a number of years, while able to tolerate some histamine in my diet, histamine gave me migraine and headaches if consumed too frequently or to excess. Reason I could tolerate some histamine was I believe, because I purposely did not drink fluids with lunch and evening meals and avoided fluids 15 minutes before and after these meals. I thought all of my precautions contributed a little until mid-2013 when I realised the single most effective change for me was to avoid fluids for a longer period of 1 hour around the two meal times and breakfast though I still drink tea with toast for breakfast.

    How I discovered this was in mid-2013, I found I couldn’t kick a small constant background headache which had hung around for 2 weeks or so, even though I had been watching my histamine intake, until that is, I realised around the same 2 week period, I had started drinking a small amount of fluid occasionaly though not everytime with lunch and evening meals. I stopped the fluid with the meals completely and extended the fluid avoidance and began to follow a strict approach of no fluid 1hr before, during and after breakfast, lunch and evening meal. The headache cleared the next day and I haven’t had any headaches or migraines since.

    I tested the effectiveness of avoiding fluids around meals and found I could consume much larger amounts of histamine than previous and without suffering any headache or migraine – cheeses, bananas, coffee, milk, chocolate. This to me was a massive revelation as migraines were easily triggered before this.

    I consider myself still to be histamine intolerant/sensitive but believe I have found a pretty effective work around by avoiding fluid 1hr during and either side of meals which stops me suffering the symptoms (migraine in my case) of histamine intolerance and which allows me to consume histamine without regard for frequency or volume.

    I had hoped and am still hopeful that others might try the 1hr+1hr fluid avoidance and find similarly powerful results.

    I do believe it is simple as that and that fluids with meals and around meals does have a massive impact on reducing histamine intolerance health problems and that this impact is much bigger than restricting foods and drink containing histamine though awareness and knowledge of dietary histamine is not to be forgotten or ignored and is to be broadcast when the opportunity arises.

    If my theory about the magnitude and importance of fluid avoidance around meals is backed up by people who have tried it and have found a significant improvement in histamine health problems then others might come to read of it. If anyone wants to look at histamine related issues in more detail after this point, hopefully they can then do that from a position of improved health.

    The basis of why fluids during and around meal times is important is here:

    Dale, you say for women there are other contributory factors to consider such as what they put on their body or even what they inhale, I agree that there are many contributory factors such these and menstrual cyle, menopause, showers, heat, stress, tight clothing, dehydration – the thing is that I believe that so many of these contributory factors have one thing in common – HISTAMINE or in other words the release of histamine.

    The thing that I would hope to get over is that HISTAMINE RELEASED IN THE BODY USES UP VALUABLE DIAMINE OXIDASE (DAO) – ITS DIAMINE OXIDASE DEFICIENCY OR INSUFFICIENCY THAT CAUSES AN INDIVIDUAL TO DISPLAY HISTAMINE INTOLERANCE; AND DILUTING STOMACH ACID COMPRISES DIGESTION IN THE STOMACH AND THE COLON WHICH CAUSES INFLAMMATION OF THE COLON WHICH REQUIRES A MASSIVE RELEASE OF HISTAMINE IN THE BLOOD STREAM WHICH DEPLETES THE DIAMINE OXIDASE – perhaps one should consider the small and large colons do represent a fairly large organ which would need a fair amount of histamine to create the inflammation that could be expected to follow the inefficient digestion caused by diluting the stomach acid with fluids.

    The ‘game’ in my mind is mostly all about histamine causing depletion of diamine oxidase and the winning move is to protect the levels of diamine oxidase. Diluting stomach acid in my mind is the single most biggest contributor to diamine oxidase depletion – quod ed demonstradum, QED, this has to be demonstrated by feedback.

    Regards complexities for future consideration after limiting fluids around meals:
    - Ever wondered why histamine related health problems suddenly occur after eating foods which don’t have high levels of histamine, for example broccoli, cauliflower, pistachios, cucumber, plums, melon or grapes? Answer is its most likely the high levels of salicylates in these foods which cause similar health problems to histamine.
    - Ever wondered why dietary olive oil and quercetin helps alleviate histamine related health problems for some people? Answer is its most likely the histamine neutralising qualities of flavanoids such as olive oil and quercetin.
    - Ever wondered why ginger and primrose oil helps reduce histamine related health problems for some people? Answer is its most likely the leukotriene neutralising qualities of ginger and primrose oil. Leukotrienes are released during the inflammation process and follow the release of histamine and are 10 times more powerful than histamine.
    - Other complexities to consider include histidine foods, histamine liberator foods, tyramine foods which cause similar health problems to histamine.

    I prefer to keep it simple where possible.


    • Well listen Chris,

      I don’t agree with everything you’ve said here but I welcome the discussion and hope others will weigh in to help you prove your theory. In the meantime, I wish you continued health and hope you’ll stop by every now and again to check in and add to the discussion.

      The most important thing is that we all work together to help each other on our healing paths, and I thank you for your contribution.

      Anyone else want to add to the conversation?

      • Ann says:

        Hi Chris.

        Sorry to hear about your head aches, this is the problem with the arteries contracting if you like………[Thanks to Histamines ] have a read of these sites it may help. It is another reason I find if I drink 2 litres of still water a day in the hot weather, and one litre in the cold days of winter, the histamines together with the balanced diet, helps! it seems to assist greatly with headaches. As a tea drinker with no milk, I have had to stop my 4 – 6 cups of tea a day, this is due to the caffeine in the tea, [I will drink 1 - 2 teas a day now] depends on the amount of histamines in my food during the day. I stopped drinking coffee over 20 years ago, and felt better for it. I also stopped drinking all wines. Back then I was not aware of my intolerance to Histamines, but looking back over my nearly 70 years, I can remember as a teenager getting hot spots, as I called them on my skin. I now know they were Hives. Today I drink tea with no caffeine. I have heard of some women drinking in winter just boiled cooled water with a teaspoon of sugar for a warm drink. I’ve not tried it myself, it doesn’t appeal at all! Good luck!




    • Clare says:

      Not sure if you still check the site but I think you are right from my personal experience also. Clare

      • Clare says:

        Sorry my post was meant for Chris for eliminating fluid during meal.

      • Ah that’s fine. Can you give more details. I’m sure Chris would be grateful to have more information. I think you’re the first person to validate his thinking.

      • sweetpea69 says:

        Australia is in our summer months, so you are in your winter months, doing this with liquids especially water can be dangerous. You will start to get cramps if you do not have the water intake needed especially in summer. I have since found out salt is an anti histamine, here in this country, we are always encouraged to drink more water especially in summer.

  36. Chris says:

    Yes Clare I am monitoring for feedback so thank you Clare for your insight and thank you Dale for supporting my attempts by encouraging some feedback on fluid avoidance 1hr before, during and after meals. I think fluids around meals are a major cause of histamine tolerance and would really like to get some feedback.

    I think as we get older our stomach’s can’t produce enough stomach acid to handle the effect of fluids which I think dilutes the acid and compromises the digestive process.

    Just want to say in response to some comments that avoiding fluids could cause problems of dehydration – I fully appreciate the need to stay hydrated. My suggestion is for those who are suffering histamine related health problems and feel that they CAN and WANT to try the suggestion. This obviously means that those who believe their personal health and environmental circumstances are such that they are prevented from trying my suggestion should not try it.

    Furthermore I AM NOT SUGGESTING AVOIDING FLUIDS COMPLETELY. I am suggesting avoiding fluids 1HR BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER MEALS. It represents around 2.5 x 3 = 7.5 hours of the day when fluid intake is halted during a short trial period.

    This leaves the remainder of the day to take on fluids. During the course of the first few days one would ascertain if any significant improvements in histamine related health problems are clearly evident.

    If there are improvements then an individual would decide how to use the information i.e. ignore it, follow it religiously, customise the duration, skip it occasionally e.t.c. Some feedback on results here on this site would be nice.

    The key for me is that I think fluids during around meals is a major contributor to the release of histamine and the depletion of diamine oxidase DAO in neutralising histamine and I am hoping feedback from people who have tried my suggestion backs up my theory and that the message gets out here on this site and elsewhere. If feedback supports the theory, it’s up to the individuals reading other people’s accounts afterwards as to if or how they choose to follow it up.

    My suggestion is here:


    • Ann says:

      Hi Chris. I hear what you are saying, but I have had this for so long and diarized a lot of what has been going on in my body, plus the specialists advices. You may find this beneficial to you., however, an example of what Histamine can do. Just after Christmas I started to eat a Yule log swiss roll type cake commercially purchased. I had just swallowed the first mouthful and realized something was not right and threw the rest away. Within 5 minutes I had hives in the virgina. This was not part of a meal, and I had been drinking plain water all day. Due to the heat this time of the year here in Australia.
      I have gone from drinking lots of water, [which I read on another site that specializes in Chronic hives (urticaria) suggests] this is what I have, when the sensitivity to Histamines develops.
      To reducing water/fluid intake during a meal. So I do know what you are trying to advocate.
      I don’t wish to put you down in what you are trying to trial, that is for the individual, but I feel I need to explain what I have tried also.
      I have gone from having so many allergy tests thinking perhaps that was my problem! It never occurred to me that Hives were not just external problems to the body!
      When I have diarized the problem I also take my blood pressure,[5 - 6 times a day] this is very important as the blood pressure can rise and fall depending on the histamine levels.[not to mention the pulse rates!] Histamine will dilate the vessels. [induces capillary dilatation] http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Histamine

      By all means if this works for you fine, but please be careful.

  37. Chris says:

    Anne, thank you for your contribution.

    You needn’t be concerned about my health in relation to my avoidance of fluids 1hr before, during and after meals. I am fine with this. I get more than enough fluids during the course of the day away from meals. Neither my health or the climate prevent me from following this fluid regime. Furthermore I can eat histamine like a histamine junkie and still not get headaches or migraines. If you read my other post/s above, you will see I still consider myself histamine intolerant. Running my digestive system like a prestige top end engine on food alone during meals without the interference of fluids around meal times allow me to be free of histamine related health problems. Though I do get a rash on my thighs and legs if I overdue it on the Haribos or boiled sweets and the like but this I am confident is the tartrazine colour additive and nothing to do with histamine. Thanks to some of the host’s posts on this site linking tartrazine and itching, I can now even explain the very occasional face itch as being linked to tartrazine or similar additive.

    What I am trying to do hear on this site is help heal others who have histamine related health problems. I’ve said it a number of times already, I think fluids with and around meals is a major cause of histamine related health problems as it uses up valuable histamine neutraliser/controller diamine oxidase. Its feedback from others who have tried my suggestion above that can either support or indeed dispel my theory.

    If my theory is right, then one or two or more people suffering histamine health problems might benefit from having visited this site and having followed avoidance of fluids around meal times. They may also not have to endure months and years of health issues which cause pain and suffering and restrict enjoyment of life as well as being costly. That’s what my aim is here. Not to make a 5% or 50% difference but to make a 90% difference. I think that fluid avoidance around meals is much more effective than trying to eradicate all histamine and histamine like foods (i.e. salicylate and tyramine foods) and trying to avoid all histamine situations like tight clothing, hot weather etc which is always going to be a big ask while menstrual cycle and menopause which cause histamine levels to rise make it almost an impossible ask.

    So come on you histamine intolerant sufferers who don’t live in a hot climate and who are healthy enough to test out my theory of fluid avoidance around meals …. lets get healthy?

    PS Anne, you mention a bite of Swiss roll type Yule log gave you immediate hives. I don’t think a sponge type product like this would contain histamine or histidine type protein but I would explain your hives reaction this way: For whatever reason your histamine tolerance was probably at a low meaning your diamine oxidase levels were low and could not fight off a histamine spike. Where did the histamine spike come from? Possibly the sugar in the icing or cream (sugar is said to cause a rise in histamine). Why was your histamine tolerance level low? Obviously can’t know for sure but possibly because you had eaten histamine type foods earlier in the day or week. In one of your posts you say drink water with your meals …..?? Case rests your honour ?


    • Ann says:

      Hi Chris.
      I also prefer to avoid colourants in my foods. [sugar in limitations as it is a laxative]
      As I have said before my problem is auto immune, I think I said that in my first email.
      I have four auto immune problems now.

      A lot of people go for years not realizing they have an auto immune problem, mine was not tested till my late 40s. Mine is Thyroid, but my late father also had a Thyroid problem and was Diabetic. [runs in families] my younger son [42 yrs] was diagnosed Diabetic 5 years ago. No we are not what one would term obese either! I am 173cm tall.

      Histamine is in nearly everything, but as I have stated we are all individuals and what seems to affect one person doesn’t necessarily affect another. There are also foods that will release histamines, like Banana.

      Tomato for instance is high in histamine but I can tolerate that in limitations.
      But not Avocado

      Although I now live in Australia, I am English and my problems also are apparent there also.
      I also try to eat Organic, I think this has a lot to do with peoples health in middle age.
      We have digested a lot of chemicals by the time we reach middle age, so I try to avoid artificial food/chemically sprayed crops.

      Commercial baked food has affected me for some time, I should have known better to have risked that commerically baked cake!! LOL

      I have never had a problem with menstrual cycle or menopause. I started the month before I was 13 and stopped the month before I turned 53! Never took HRT either..

      Tight clothing around the groin and buttocks is a no no also. Pressure on the pelvic region is so much of a problem I do not get on the exercise bike as much as I used to.
      Being a private person all my life it is amazing I am writing about my personal life, I am only doing this in the chance it helps other women who are suffering, so they do not have to go through the years of what I have.
      It is apparent that the Irritable Bowel I have suffered from for 20 years is attributed to the internal Hives. I am about to have my 5th colonoscopy next week! I am under a specialist and I hope all is clear.

      Good luck with your trials Chris…but don’t forget this problem happens in men also
      and they don’t suffer monthly like we women do.

  38. Candy knox says:

    Finally an answer. I have suffered for 53 days straight wilted hives so itchy I thought I was going insane. I have been tested for sulfate sand food tested and still no answer until now. It’s sad I have to play my own doctor.

  39. Tonya McCullough says:

    Thnak you for your post. I recently started developing an itchy rash each month. My Doctor is baffled and has no clue what it is. I have been on prednisone three times, but the rash always returns. I started keeping track and noticed yesterday that it seems to get worse right before my period. I also experience nightly “night sweats”. Your article has given me good information to work with and I will be researching foods to avoid and hopefully I will be able to control the itching. My arms and legs have sores everywhere from scratching in my sleep. Thanks again for the info you provided. I hope this will help me.

    • Please take some time to read through the entire site. There is so much good information here in my posts and in the comments sections written by many women who have been through what you’re going through now.

      Good luck and let us know if you have questions. Or stop by and give us an update on how you are and what’s working for you.


  40. Chris says:

    This site contains a great deal of useful information. Anyone interested in wanting to search this site for more information on a particular topic can do so using the search string below.

    Simply cut and paste into Google search box:

    e.g. topic – rash
    rash site:themenopausehistamineconnection.wordpress.com

    e.g. topic – spinach
    spinach site:themenopausehistamineconnection.wordpress.com

    e.g. topic – fish
    fish site:themenopausehistamineconnection.wordpress.com

    e.g. topic – tartrazine
    tartrazine site:themenopausehistamineconnection.wordpress.com


  41. mom says:

    Oh my, I hope this is the issue I’m having A Menopause Histamine Rash!
    It makes perfect sense right now, I thought it was this, then I thought it was that, then nothing made sense, was it food, stress, menopause, chocolate, wine, gluten intolerance? I go to sleep fine and wake at 3 am feeling a rash starting on my face and neck it felt like hives, looked like a chemical burn, all sorts of degrees become of it, its worse if I touch it at all during my discomfort.

    Before this started happening, I started just a few times waking in the night with a break out of sweat….. Figured that was the start of menopause… So I tried to go off birth control and hemorrhaged for 20 days so figured it was too soon to stop….

    Now In my google quest for hive’s answers and after trying to go gluten free for a few weeks…. I see this makes perfect sense….

    Yesterday I had, breakfast, one egg, and black tea, lunch, a small personal pizza and a black tea, dinner, 1 homemade chocolate no bake cookie, pita with spinach and avocado dip, 4 coconut shrimp with raspberry sauce and a coke…. I know that is a poor diet….. But that was my day…….last night I woke at 3 am with one side of my face all chemical looking……and my neck has hives….. I just popped 2 Benadryl. BTW- wine always makes me break out in a flush….

    So now how do I find the histamine good food list/ bad food list?

    • Omg! Everything you ate yesterday is a problem for an acute case of histamine intolerance!

      I have a link to a site I really like that has a great food list but I’m not sure what page or post it’s in.

      Search my blog using the word histamino and it should turn up. I’m on my iPhone write now and can’t get to it but that search should work.

      If histamine intolerance is your issue than one day off of that list of foods will be a miraculous difference! Black tea, pizza, avocado, coke, chocolate… All in one day?! If I ate that last year at this time I’d be suicidal with hot flashes, itching, and insomnia!

      • Ann says:

        Like me you are reacting to some things and not others, it is so frustrating till you work out what affects the individual. This site will be a guide for you, hope it helps. Good luck.



      • mom says:

        I am really wondering if all my life this has been a problem, all my life I have had dry skin issues. Thanks for the link Ann.. How can I give up Chocolate…..that may kill me… ;)

      • Ann says:

        LOL! It is important to keep your humour! Glad to hear you have not lost yours Mom.. I am a 69 year old grandmother and looking back over my life I can see I came out with the odd lump/bump a teenager. At 30 I got my first auto immune, with the pigmentation on my skin changing. I am a RH O blood group, I have often wondered if that had anything to do with it. But it was not till I was 46 after telling various doctors I fell exhausted all the time that one actually took me seriously. It was a South African lady doctor at the Womans Health Group here in Perth; my GP had moved and I needed to speak to someone! She said as soon as a woman gives me the description I had, of feeling exhausted, bloated putting on weight for no reason, she sent me for a blood test for Thyroid issues. It came back positive. The Thyroid mimics a lot of health problems. But soon as they found out it was a slow Thyroid issue & the Pituitary Gland, which had taken over from the dysfunctional Thyroid Gland, did not want to stop! So I had continual blood tests each six weeks.
        Once again we are back to hormones! You may want to go down that route with a blood test? I was convinced I had a diary allergy for 20 years, but when I finally had an allergy test for Dairy it came back negative. It was only after a comprehensive blood test and reading up on Histamines did I realize my problem, as my specialist did. So I have lived without chocolate, ice cream, cream cakes, butter and all those fattening foods for 20 odd years. Today I have refound ice cream! I tried the tablets that helps digest dairy but they did not work. Good Luck with your exploring what helps you Mom!

      • I think a lot of us wonder if we’ve had the problem before and whether something like menopause brings it to the forefront. When I’ve looked back at my mother, grandmother, and sister, my family history would indicate histamine intolerance has been lurking around for generations. I think I was jay lucky enough to figure it out.

        And as for giving up chocolate, well I are it almost every day. And once I realized it triggered the worst of my itching, I’d look at a piece and all I’d think of was how bad it made me feel. It was easy to give up trust me. I’ve eaten it once in a while since, but I will never go back to eating it regularly.

        I haven’t touched a beer since the day I figured out I was intolerant a year ago either. I loved beer but even now, I’m too scared to try it.

        If you want to feel good, be ready to give up anything. Trust me it’s worth it. That first night when you sleep without a hot flash, hive, or insomnia after you’ve been suffering…there’s nothing like it.

  42. Ann says:

    One of the symptoms of Thyroid problems is a dry skin Mom. you may find this site informative too! http://thyroid.about.com/cs/basics_starthere/a/10signs.htm

  43. Marga says:

    I love you and your site, I’ve been reading and reading what all.of you crazy, itchy, bug bitten, bloody, desperate women have written and I have finally felt there is hope!! I started a low histamine diet 4 days ago, but still no real relief. I have the scars of my battle, which I have been fighting since before Thanksgiving, with no relief, just getting worse. What feels like constant bug bites, 1 million spiders, marked up different areas of my body with rash, and spreading, both most definitely the worst part is the uncontrollable itching, I Ann tearing my skin to shreds.Been to Urgent care, dermatology, allergy, internal medicine. I keep telling them over and over “the only thing that changed when I got this is my period stopped” and all I’m told, it’s not related. We know our bodies the best, that is the only change!!
    I knew it, was getting so desperate, but now I see light. I’ve had cortisone shots, been on cortisone, taking so much antihistamine and using topical steroids like crazy still. I actually start light treatment tomorrow. My allergy tests were negative, my biopsy showed urticaria. Grateful not cancer, as they ruled that out and said it was autoimmune, my own body attacking itself. I can’t wait to stop itching, then try to get rid of my scars. I play tennis and I’m almost at the point of too embarrassed to show my arms and legs. It’s late and I will do anything, so olive oil is good? I thought only pure vegetable oil, but I need something for my salad, and skin if you say so. I can’t wait to look at your recipes. I’m ready to go to any store for the correct supplements, what do you recommend?

    Thank you, thank you, thank you, Xoxo

    • I actually buy my supplements on Amazon because they have the best prices. That’s if I can wait while they ship. Otherwise I have a Whole Foods nearby and I Vitamin Shoppe.

      Be patient as it’s only been 4 days and your body has been through a lot. I think cortisone shots are the devil! I had one for frozen shoulder and had vertigo and leg spasms for months after. So that’s going to take a while to leave your system and in the meantime might be wreaking some havoc.

      Be strict with yourself on the elimination diet at first. Once you heal you’ll add foods back in. And yes, I could tolerate olive oil on my skin and as food so I always have a bottle or two on hand. Test it on a small patch first.

      I’m very glad you found all us itchy gals! I always think the best part of finding the blog is knowing you’re not crazy! And yes, we know our bodies. Trust that as you move onto this new healing path.

      Good luck and keep in touch. I’d love to hear that you’ve gotten the itching under control.


    • ANN says:

      Marga hi. It did take me about a month before I realized the diet was helping, I think, it must have something to do with flushing the histamine out, so I just drank MORE plain h2o!
      Amazing how just plain water really does help our ‘older’ bodies. I think it has something to do with cleansing the liver out. Not that I am a medical person, just experimentation with my own body. Try drinking water in the morning before you eat or drink anything else and before bed at night, Of course during the day too. When I first started on anti histamines they were useless, I may as well have been eating jelly beans for the good they did. Then the doctor told me to get anti histamines with Loratadine in.
      Perhaps a chat to your friendly Chemist may be of benefit so he/she can recommend something that is sold for Hives in your country. I also found it would get worse if I was constipated! Flushing out the bowel and keeping regular I found help and drinking more water always helps the bowel……but sugar makes things worse. Please do not forget in some people, me included, Hives can and do appear with pressure. If you have tight clothing or sitting too long in one position. Good Luck

    • Chris says:

      Marga, histamine avoidance is very important and it may take a few days to see noticeable improvements.

      However if you continue to suffer histamine related problems, then at some point, you might also want to consider my suggestion for reducing histamine intolerance related health problems by fluid avoidance 1hr before, during and 1 hr after the 3 main meals of the day. The idea being to protect levels of diamine oxidase DAO which counteract and neutralise histamine. This is only my suggestion and others may not agree with it. The choice is yours. Good luck.

      My suggestion is here:


      • Chris, I tried to send you an email response to your inquiry about your last post but my message bounced back, so I hope this gets to you.

        I was researching omega 3′s again and specifically chia when I stumbled across this paragraph: “When chia seeds are mixed with liquid or stomach juices, a gel forms that creates a physical barrier between carbohydrates and digestive enzymes that break them down. The carbohydrates are digested eventually, but at a slow and uniform rate.”

        I could not eat chia when I was at my worst, but am about to drink a glassful in a minute. But I think it is supposed to be pretty safe for histamine intolerant people. (I had issues with many things that were “supposed” to be safe)

        Anyway, I thought this could really add to your research about drinking water before and after meals to slow digestion. Maybe this is something you should look into also. It could be another method to slow digestion and therefore preserve DAO.

        I’d be curious what you think.


  44. Chris says:

    Hi Dale. Thanks for clearing my last post.
    In response to your request for thoughts on chia seeds which you say one site says are known to produce a gel coating for carbohydrates against enzymes and which in effect causes their digestion to slow down, my (non-professional and non-medical) laymans response is this:
    I do think DAO diamine oxidase which neutralises histamine is best preserved by minimising dietary intake of histamine and by reduction of histamine situations such as hot showers etc. Preserving DAO means when histamine does raise its ugly head it gets neutralised efficiently.
    As I have said before, the most powerful way I think there is for preserving DAO, the histamine neutraliser is avoiding fluids 1hr before, during and 1hr after meals since this helps the digestive system work to its best ability without the interference of fluids which I believe may dilute the limited amounts of stomach acid that one’s body is able to produce and which may otherwise cause inflammation in the colon produced by inadequately digested foods being passed into the colon – inflammation involves histamine which uses up DAO the histamine neutraliser which needs to be preserved.
    You say that chia seeds may coat carbohydrates and slow down digestion. If you look at my posts, I haven’t said anywhere that slowing down digestion in my opinion was a good thing. In fact I have tried to propose that individuals give their digestive system the best chance to digest foods the best and most efficient way their bodies can by not drinking fluids in the 1hr + 1hr window. (Unfortunately, there has been very little feedback from individuals with histamine health problems who may have been able to try this suggestion – I’m still hopeful of some feedback).
    So in effect, based on my approach of allowing the body to digest foods in the best way it can by avoiding fluids around meal times, slowing down the digestive process, using chia seeds is counter to my approach as it means foods (carbs in this case) enter the colon in a state which is not as well digested as they would be had the digestion been allowed to progress at the body’s own rate. So based on that, I would say chia seeds if they do slow down carbohydrate digestion may end up causing more inflammation in the colon because they are allowing foods (carbs) to enter the colon in a less digested state.
    Another consideration may be that the body most likely has a limited time to digest foods and does not work on the principle of hanging on to foods until they are digested to a certain level. This would mean that if an individual compromises their digestive system by drinking fluids around mealtimes or by eating chia seeds, that during the time spent by foods in the stomach and the colon, these foods are in a lower state of digestion than they would otherwise be and that they eventually pass out in a lower state of digestion. So if a given volume of food spends time in the colon in a lower state of digestion then the more inflammation may occur in the colon. The more inflammation in the colon the more histamine released to achieve this and the more DAO gets used up.
    TV ads constantly plug antacid tablets and the like for acid reflux or indigestion. Antacids neutralise stomach acid thus compromising digestion. So foods enter the colon in a lower state of digestion. Colon inflammation ensues. Crazy. But hey its all about making money and pharmaceuticals won’t make money from educating people to eat within the limits of their digestive system by reducing volume. Pushing drinks with meals at the local restaurants makes money, so forget about expecting warnings from restauranteurs and the government bodies that fluids will compromise digestive systems. The 20/30 something will probably be able to compensate better by producing more stomach acid but the 40+ may not find it as easy so DAO gets depleted and histamine problems rise up.
    So I would say people should allow their digestive system to work the best it can by avoiding fluids around mealtimes and by avoiding anything else that ‘slows’ digestion.
    I would also say people should not try and speed up the natural rate of their digestive system with accompanying foods which supposedly increase the amount of stomach acid as this could have adverse effects elsewhere within the digestive system such as irritating the lower esophageal sphincter which is the control valve at the bottom end of the throat which prevents stomach acid from entering the throat and causing acid reflux which is acid irritation of the throat – this produces histamine release and depletion of DAO diamine oxidase which is the histamine neutraliser. A side effect of purposely eating foods which interfere with the rate of digestion may also cause the (phyloric) stomach sphincter or control valve to loosen which may cause the release foods into the colon before they are digested enough – this valve usually opens up automatically when stomach contents are sufficiently digested and are acidic enough.
    So my message remains the same, contrary to some – avoid fluids during and around meal times and feel the benefits of an optimally working digestive process which releases minimal histamine and which doesn’t deplete DAO diamine oxidase the histamine neutraliser.

    My preference is to keep it simple – While my histamine intolerance is under control, because I think of my avoidance of fluids during and around meals, and while I can eat what I want without getting the headaches I used to get before, my suggestion to anyone with histamine related health problems who is not able to try my suggestion of avoiding fluids during and around meal times would be to abstain from histamine foods and other similar foods such as salicylate foods etc and to be very careful of incorporating foodstuffs which may in themselves cause other problems through imbalance in the body’s bio-chemistry. If my theory is right about the huge significance of avoiding fluids around mealtimes which dilute stomach acid and which results in histamine release depleting DAO diamine oxidase then I would hope individuals histamine health problems could be reduced significantly by avoiding fluids around mealtimes thereby making it unnecessary to eat foodstuffs to help alleviate histamine related health problems.

    Having said all that, these are just my opinions which could be wrong.
    Good health.

    • Ann says:

      On another topic, I have just received this, to do with women’s health, I am not sure how true it is though, but better be safe than sorry.

      Sheryl Crow’s oncologist told her: women should not drink bottled water that has been left in a car.
      The heat reacts with the chemicals in the plastic of the bottle which releases dioxin into the water. Dioxin is a toxin increasingly found in breast cancer tissue.
      So please be careful and do not drink bottled water that has been left in a car.

    • Sorry, I guess I misunderstood your original theory.

      Now that you’ve expressed yourself fully, I’d like to ask that you no longer comment on other’s comments unless you have new information or something else to add to the discussion. I think we’ve beaten this horse to death and now you have to wait until someone comes along to substantiate your theory.

      I don’t want this whole thread to be about when to drink water. I think your theory could be valid but it’s taken over the thread.

      Thanks for your understanding.

  45. Lou says:

    Hello all, I just want to leave my experience here- slightly different as I’m only 26, but this has been the most comprehensive collection of anecdotes I’ve found, and have been really useful for me. I’ll try and break it down a bit.

    Start of symptoms-

    I started getting itchy legs late 2011 (age 23), with no real pattern (I blamed it on tights for a while!). Over the following six months I noticed it get worse- from a once a week to once a day to several times a day. Inbetween itchy leg times there would be no trace or evidence of the itch, but it got steadily worse, particularly after exercise and a shower, and I tried changing all my shower gels and shampoo, but no difference. Towards the end of this period it developed from just being an invisible itch to a red spotty rash , mostly on my inner and backs of thighs but sometimes between my knees and on my shins with no discernible pattern. For anyone reading trying to self diagnose, this was, like others describe, insanely, indescribably itchy. Can’t ignore it itchy. Scratching does give relief, eventually, which just makes you really really want to scratch until you have no skin left.

    Then came invisible itching on my stomach and neck, followed a couple of weeks later by severe hives from neck to navel. Again they would flare up- if I got warm, if I had a shower, sometimes totally randomly, and then go down again, just leaving the weals and outline of the rash which didn’t itch constantly. Work sent me home as they decided it looked infectious! That shocked me enough to go to the doctors, who tried out antihistamines, steroid cream, menthol in aqueous cream (STILL the only thing that offers me any kind of temporary relief to the itching) and eventually prednisolone and diagnosed chronic urticaria. The prednisolone cleared up the hives within three days, but after a week of stopping it, they came back. Another trip to the doctor, and they gave me a three week course of the prednisolone to try and ‘clear it out’ of my system. Once again, the hives were gone in a few days, but the prednisolone really messed with my moods and behaviour, I got headaches and knew I wasn’t thinking straight, and a couple of weeks after stopping treatment it all came back anyway.

    I was fast losing faith in the medical system- they didn’t seem to have any interest in finding the trigger or cause, just in treating the symptoms. I have a safety critical job which doesn’t allow many medicines, and had to stop work during all this as the steroids are a banned substance because of the side effects, so the experimental ‘how about this treatment?!’ approach really wasn’t working for me.

    Self Diagnosis-

    I’d started to suspect that wine was an irritant but cutting alcohol hadn’t really done anything to help, so I looked at wider groups of triggers of which wine might just be one of them. I think it was a vague Google search on urticaria and itchy legs which eventually led me to a website which mentioned histamine, and the symptoms and massive number of trigger foods really seemed familiar. There was much less information online on the topic back in 2012 but I decided to start a proper elimination diet. The first week was a bit half hearted and I still ate bread with yeast in and had a Nando’s one day (very spicy chicken with chips). I got much better though so it was promising, so I got more strict.

    I cut down to fresh chicken (grilled or fried in olive oil with pepper), apples, oats, honey, potatoes, carrots, milk, almonds, cashews, butter. After only a week the hives were gone, and another week later I had no symptoms. I’d also added in plain Kettle Chips, and honey granola (Dorset cereals) both of which are pretty simple and mostly just ingredients I’d already been eating. These let me be eat a bit more at work too. Once it started working I found that was all the motivation I needed to stick to it!

    I kept it up for a month (keeping up the idea I was still ridding my body of histamine). I had a few meals out with friends and the other half, which I went to and always just had a steak cooked medium well with potatoes. I figured this was the plainest thing available in most restaurants and pubs. I also made some flapjack from scratch- sugar being the only new thing there, and drank coffee after a couple of weeks without ill effect.

    After that month I started reintroducing foods, waiting for a trigger. I started with all sorts of fruits and veg, then strawberries, bread, gin, fruit cordial, tomatoes, chocolate, etc etc etc and nothing happened! That was August 2012 and it has seemed like a miracle. I’ve been fine! For all of 2013 I didn’t give histamine in food a second thought. I generally don’t have a lot of additives (no sugar substitutes), little in the way of pickled or cured foods but I do have a lot of tomatoes, fish, shellfish and bread, and usually have some wine every week. It was like I was cured.


    Until… the beginning of this year I started with occasionally itchy legs. I’ve largely managed to ignore it- a little bit of menthol in aqueous cream at night if I wake up and it’s bad. Last week though, I was on holiday and managed to scratch through the skin on both shins it got so bad (skiing, catered, lots of foods I wouldn’t normally have and above average levels of wine!). I’ve had the odd tingle on my stomach of itching this week too since getting home and more leg itching, and I really don’t need to wait for any more symptoms.

    SO! I’ve started the diet again. It’s less daunting than last time, as I’m so sure it will work, and I’m fairly confident I’ll be able to go back to normal eating soon. To start with I’m allowing myself wheaten bread (dense Irish type of bread with no yeast), as I’m not sure if wheat is actually a problem for me, and cream (just a little bit in soup). If I’m no better in another three days or so I’ll cut these.

    Who knows if I’ll get nearly 18 months out of it again, or whether it will be less next time… Maybe I should try more consciously to stay low histamine once the symptoms go again. It’s worth it to avoid this itching anyway!

    Some of what you all go through sounds terrible, and having to be so strict all the time. I can only hope science can get to the bottom of it. I’m really impressed looking online that there does seem to be a lot more recognition of it as a ‘real’ condition, and a lot more research happening than there was 18 months ago when I was last reading about it. I told my NHS doctor in a follow up (I was booked in for a few weeks after I stopped the longer course of oral steroids) and she was totally uninterested in the self diagnosis. For work, I had to get a real diagnosis and ‘evidence’ that the reaction was under control and I wouldn’t be needing any more treatment in order to get my medical back, and the NHS doctor just gave me a note to say the urticaria was being controlled by diet and I was symptom free, which was enough to satisfy the medical branch at work.

    I’ve also got the possibility that it’s not histamine that causes my reaction, but something else which my original elimination diet managed to rid me of. The theory of histamine levels and reaching my tolerance does seem to make sense though and it’s the best I’ve got for now.

    Thanks everyone for sharing your experiences of elimination diets, problem foods, sources of information elsewhere and support. Sorry I’m a bit off topic on the menopause side of things but this site really has a lot to offer those who are suffering generally from the intolerance as well.

    • Thank you so much for sharing your story in detail. What you’ve done is validate the idea of starting an elimination diet to manage the intolerance. It’s so hard to convince people that they can see a huge difference if they are strict with their foods in the beginning.

      I’ve also gone back to eating relatively normal but I do stay away from a lot of the things I knew raised my histamine even before I had the intolerance. I won’t really eat chocolate except every once in a while. Or chips or anything processed. No more beer and almost no spinach. Those were major triggers.

      I’ve seen my level rise a bit and as soon as that happens I stop whatever it is I know I shouldn’t be doing! And I still take ginger every day and keep quercetjn around.

      It sounds like you can live relatively itch free if you’re careful. I think maybe once you have it under control and you add foods back, maybe don’t add everything back. You’re just going to have to be a little more careful than someone who doesn’t have this issue.

      But I tell ya, everything you describe sounds like histamine intolerance to me! Thank you again and please keep in touch.


      Oh and can you share what kind of job you have? You’ve got me curious. But if it’s not something you can share I totally understand

    • Ann says:

      Hi Lou. Just a quick reply, you must be in the UK, my homeland. Please don’t forget that pressure does cause chronic urticaria, which I have also. Yes it has been diagnosed by a specialist here in Perth, Australia. If I wear tight jeans for more than 2 – 3 hours I get it.
      Also tight undies.
      Good luck

  46. Lou says:

    Hey both, thanks for the replies. I’m really hopeful I can just keep in controlled with minimal limitation on diet eventually, but you are probably right Dale, on trying to be more careful in the future with food. I’m an air traffic controller, the medical is much the same as a pilot and with random drugs testing. And hi Ann, yes, in the UK. Seems like there’s a real mix here!

    • Wow, cool job. That actually was my guess. I don’t know why I thought it.

      Anyway, I thought of you today Lou, as I was steeping a cup of ginger tea to combat my mild histamine reaction to a lunch I had. I ate at a Samurai Steak House which is one of those places that cooks the food in front of you, and really regretted it. I have no idea what part of the meal got to me as I had veggies and rice, but they have different sauces and stuff they put on all the food, so who knows! It could have been one of those very strange mushrooms I ate…All I know is I felt awful after and downed a quercetin and am now having that said cup of ginger tea.

      So I guess I thought of you because I don’t ever take my own advice. I have not been careful and now I paid for it. It was a warning that I am going to heed. Back on the clean foods wagon!

      • Ann says:

        It would have been the Soy Sauce in your meal, I am guessing as we do not have Samurai Steak House here in Perth, Western Australia. Fermented products have high histamine content together with wine, beer and all food stuffs that have vinegar in.
        Just sitting here writing and the search planes are going over head looking for the Malaysian plane, such a sad situation. The air base that they take off from is about 30klms from our home. It is just gone 7am here so their day starts again searching one huge ocean.

      • Soy sauce is probably a good guess. I never use it anymore. Not even sure I have it in the house.

        I’ve been following that Malaysian plane story since the start. I hope they find it so the families can have closure. Very sad indeed.

      • Ann says:

        I actually purchased some Soy sauce for the pantry, for my poor husband. I cooked a stir fry for us and left out the sauce saying there is some in the pantry and there wasn’t! Also having read up on some micro biology with histamines in mind, I was surprised to find that salt plain salt, is an anti histamine, not that I am suggesting add more salt we will end up with heart issues if we do!

      • When I was at my worst and trying everything under the sun, I read about salt being an antihistamine. I read that if you put a crystal (grey salt) on your tongue and let it dissolve, it would act like an antihistamine. It didn’t work for me.

  47. Neoh Chong Eng says:

    Thanks for sharing. Itching for the past weeks. Grateful!

  48. Carol Ingram says:

    I too found the low histamine diet helpful. menopausal woman.

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