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.

Disclaimer

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 allergy-like 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.

DLB

335 comments on “Mission Statement
  1. LEE says:

    Dale- I CANT BELIEVE I FOUND YOU!!! since menopause (20004), i started having progressively worsening hives, angioedema, craaaazy itching, brain fog, extreme fatigue. Not one doc or naturopath considered my plea for the possibility that my issues were hormonal. nobody knows this unexplored territory. i am now in over a decade of this torment, lots of wasted money, time, suffering, had to quit work, cant participate in socializing, bleeding hives all over me keep me covered in black clothes with long sleeves even in summer. i just GOT to try this histamine intolerance idea -it only confirms my original notion but never thought to google the relationship! i was so busy trying a million drugs and a million doctors. WOW i hope this is the answer and im looking forward to you’all’s support :) thank you for your brilliant awareness into your own body and then reaching out to us all!–Lee

  2. Dale, thank you for making the decision, and taking the time, to blog your experience and research about this. The past few years I’ve been conscientious about eating nutrient dense foods based on a belief that ‘food is medicine’ and have seen many issues clear up. Going through menopause unmasked more stuff (sigh), and recently out of the blue, a raging allergic reaction with hives and angioedema. Looking back over what I ate the previous few days pointed to some suspects and have made some dietary changes; however, more importantly going down the rabbit hole of information about the thyroid, immune system, menopause, and so on has been an eye opener. The information here is valuable and important and I appreciate both your blog and the FB group.
    Kind regards,
    Leslie

  3. Lee, I’m 59 and consider myself to be menopausal for 3 years now. Just recently as a result of eating who knows what or maybe a perfect storm of all the wrong things, my whole body is now covered in hives. The hives on my face and angioedema lasted about three days and aside from peeling lizard skin, my face is no longer swollen or hive(d); the rest of my body and extremeties still have hives. I didn’t see a Dr for this; I hate doctors. I have taken an antihistimine so I sleep without the itching (couple nights out of last 10) and use an oil blend to soothe the inflammation (nigella sativa oil + frankinsence + chamomile essential oils) which has *really* helped.

    Since I feel it was triggered by food I’ve been combing the internet for guidance on what could have caused this and have eliminated known irritants such as chocolate (sob), bacon (arrgh!), and red wine. Have focused on fresh salads and greens, vegetables, simply prepared meats, certain fruits, and avoiding eggs for now. Also take vitamin C and B complex, and fish oil, and drink nothing but water and occasionally a chamomile tea.

    About three years ago just after I started menopause a butterfly rash appeared on my face and chest; this is characteristic of lupus, an autoimmune disease and one that runs in my family. It scared the heck out of me because my sisters have really suffered with this. At that time I did some reading on AI diseases and changed my diet to eliminate dairy and grains, and only use ghee, lard, olive oil & coconut oil for cooking. It made an incredible difference in my overall health and the rash never reappeared. However the past few months I’ve been lax about my diet: drinking wine, having cookies and treats over the holiday, and indulging in foods at the urging of family & friends that wasn’t really what I felt was healthy. It’s this carelessness that likely led to the allergic reaction. The one benefit on this is the valuable information I’ve come across about the thyroid and menopause, as well as cortisol, insulin, and histamine, etc. There are long standing issues I see can be addressed by experimenting with foods and supplementing with things like olive oil etc. I believe everyone has to find what works for her/him because we have different genetic and ancestral backgrounds, individual health issues, and access to different resources based on geography and income. I wish for everyone to find a resolution because the suffering and frustration I’ve seen on forums and blogs has been sad to read.

  4. Rosemarie says:

    Hi Dale. I came across your blog about two weeks ago when I was searching for answers for my many symptoms. This makes a lot of sense to me but not quite sure yet if it could be what I’m going through. I’m 50 years old and might be going through perimenopause. I still get my period once a month but I seem to have reactions once a month about a week or so before my period. I checked this on my calendar after I read your blog about the histamine and menopause connection. To make a long story short I have been suffering for over two years with weird symptoms of eye swelling, which started with one eye and at times both eyes. I’ve stopped wearing makeup, stopped wearing contact lenses and have developed an eating disorder because I started connecting my reactions to what I’m eating. Although I had two allergy tests that show I have no food allergies. I have been following a gluten free diet for over two years and eat quite healthy. Although I don’t eat a variety of foods because I think food is the culprit. I’ve lost a tremendous amount of weight and not too happy about that. I recently removed gluten free bread out of my diet because of the Xanthum Gum which I feel is causing some problems (maybe). I’ve got to the emergency room three times between November and December because I thought I was going to stop breathing. But it was just my eyes and then I developed hives the last two times on my back and chest and stomach. I carry antihistamines in my purse at all times because of my anxiety and panic and at the last visit to the hospital was prescribed an epi pen which I’m sure I will never need, I hope. Anyways, for the past two weeks I have been following a low histamine diet and am hoping this might be the problem. My last reaction was the end of January so I’m crossing my fingers that nothing happens soon. I have to say that for the most part the food restrictions arent horrible. I do miss a lot of condiments and I find It difficult because my family is in the restaurant business and they are all foodies. One of the hardest things for me is not being able to have a glass of red wine. I am not a big drinker and actually only drink red wine so this has been frustrating for me. Well I don’t know yet if Histamine is the issue in my case but if it is I’m wondering will I ever be able to have red wine again and some of the high histamine foods like pickles, mustard, and tomatoes. I really miss a nice red tomato past sauce.

    Looking for answers.
    Sincerely,,
    Rosemarie

    • Rosemarie,

      It sounds like it could be histamine intolerance. I had itching well before my periods stopped too. I just had no idea why. I’d get a weird little itch the day before my period. That was how I knew I was going to start the next day.

      Having a weird relationship to food needs to be corrected. Interestingly enough anorexia is also related to intolerance and I’ve often wondered which came first with people, the anorexia or the intolerance which led to this fear of eating.

      As for will you ever be able to add foods back, for me the answers was yes. There are still a few things that make me react, but for the most part I eat normally. But that means no processed foods with chemicals. Just yesterday I found a jar of pickles that have no chemicals. Yes they are in vinegar, but that doesn’t bother me anymore. I was elated to find them!

      Start thinking about food as the thing that can heal you not hurt you. Run, don’t walk, over to the Low Histamine Chef’s site and see what you can do with healing foods. She has way more stuff about specific healing foods than I do.

      Ultimately red wine might be out for good, but you won’t care because you’ll feel so good you won’t want to tip the balance!

      Get started healing today!
      Dale

      • Rosemarie says:

        Thank you Dale for sharing your experience. I do feel some relief that this may be the answer and I am working with a therapist for my eating issues. I am beginning to realize that I am not allergic to foods so I can reintroduce good foods that I have taken out of my diet and at the same time making sure they are low histamine foods. Although its a little difficult to know for sure which are high and which are low. The websites I have visited are very conflicting on which foods are low histamine and which are high. Some say don’t eat leftovers and others tell you to make your breakfast the night before. I haven’t been eating any leftover meats but I do eat leftover vegetables or quinoa because I usually make extra. Is this okay and what has your experience been with leftovers? I will keep you updated and I’m on my way to the Low Histamine Chef’s Website.

        thanks again

      • I was careful to not eat leftovers in the beginning. And the lists are just a starting point. Nettle tea is supposed to be great to reduce histamine but it made me itch.

        You really have to be a private investigator. But I know it’s possible because I did it.

        Hang in there. Sounds like you’re willing to do the work. That’s what really counts.

  5. Lina Parker says:

    Thank you so much for telling us about your experience. I’ve suffered CFS and fibro most of my life and had some sort of control to lead a somewhat “normal life”, that is until now. I thought I was going backwards, although I’ve been searching and found good information, your the only one that spoke about histamine and msg. Thank you and keep well 😊.

  6. Veronica says:

    Your article has been very helpful to me to make the connection to histamines. I am in the peri-menopause and suffer from red, itchy ears when under stress or after drinking wine. I can’t always stop the stress but will certainly drop the wine and see how things go.

  7. Jennifer says:

    OMG!!! First of all I’m only 35 so u all may think I’m crazy same as my Dr does but I swear I’m entering some phase of menopause! My whole body itches nonstop and seems to worsen closer to my period. I’ve been having severe hormonal issues since having my 5th… and last lol… child. As a woman u know ur body inside and out and everyone just dismisses my theories of my hormone related itchiness. You dnt knw how good it feels to find someone out there experiencing something similar! Thank u so much for ur blog!

  8. Darla says:

    Wow I hope this is the answer. The hot flashes are endless. One every hour but thry only last 30 seconds or so. The hives, I thought was frombmy insulin. The itchy rash continues though. My dermatologist gave me a anti-histamine (hydroxyzine) & a steroid (prednisone) but they have not made a difference. With the hormonal changes, I feel like I am allergic to a food now such as gluten, chocolate, Dr Pepper etc. Thanks for this notice about the “histamine” in foods. Do you have a list of foods to avoid & what vitamins to take?

    • jeanette says:

      Hi.. i take cetirizine but this only helps with the itching. I am taking vitamin supplement berroca and vitamin D. If i remember to take all the vitamins then I have 2 to 3 clear days. My body is very low in vitamin D. Try and stay away from steroids they may help for a couple of days because it dampens down your immunity ….but it comes back worse. I wake up with swollen tongue or lips or chin it depends. This is called Angeodema and can be alarming. I have to carry an Epipen. I have been to the Emergency room a few times. But this condition is part of who I am and you learn to accept it. Life is great other than this. Jeanette Uk

  9. Janet Silika says:

    When I entered menopause I could no longer tolerate eggs. I would get very bad stomach cramps. This went on for serveral years. I have found that since I have come out on the other side of menopause I can again eat eggs. I thought it was just me and my husband told me it was all in my head

  10. jeanette says:

    Hello..i have suffered with urticaria and angeodema for about 5 years. I too am going through the menopause. 57 yrs old and also have an under active thyroid. I think all 3 are linked. I am under 2 consultants. They are baffled as no real research has been done. I enjoyed your blog. What types of foods do you avoid from your diet? Kind regards jeanette…UK

  11. kelly says:

    I am 48 and been going through menopause for about 3yrs. My life was really on full throttle n didn’t take time for myself. I finally went to an ob when my estrogen was so low and I needed help. They put me on hrt…n two weeks in I started getting these hives. Yes I feel like iam going crazy benadryl at night.u throat even felt swollen once an awhile so I finally quit taking them a couple days ago. Hives still here making me depressed n typing this at 12:30 am when I work at 6am. So any help u can advise I appreciate. I think doctor even thinks iam crazy!

  12. Roxann says:

    It is so reassuring to find out I am not alone with this most distracting condition. I mentioned a possible connection between hormones and my hives to both my primary care doctor and the allergist due to a complete hysterectomy a year before this started. They both listened but did not offer any solutions except medication, which only works sometimes and not very well. I take 5 different antihistimines a day with very limited results.
    I will definitely be researching a low histimine diet. My daughters are going to love helping me, they are very supportive of homeopathic fixes.
    Thank you for this information. I am excited to try it.
    Roxann

  13. Lisa says:

    Hi I have had hives for nearly 3 weeks now and itchy palms especially in the middle of the night . I scratch them so hard I fear I will make them bleed. I am 45 and positive I am peri-menapausal but docs are really not interested and fob me off with antihistamines and sympathy!! My skin is so dry and I am always hungry and have put on a stone in the last year. Feel so miserable, overweight and unattractive. I really need some help with my diet and then everything else may start correcting itself!

  14. My wife has shared the same symptoms for about 8 years and still continues. I would like to know how many of you ladies had used IUD in the past.
    My wife has used.

    best of luck and patience,
    ismail

  15. Gina Curet says:

    I stumbled across this website looking for a correlation between menopause and food allergies. I am in shock and can resonate with so many things. I am 50, in full menopause, and about 6 months ago ended up in the hospital with a severe allergic reaction to almonds. The allergist skin testing proved nothing. The reaction did not occur until I ingested the food. 30 days ago, I went to the hospital again with now a shellfish allergic reaction. Again, only ingesting the food at the allergist’s office made the reaction occur. I have also been getting hives on my ‘core’ body and thought it was the bleach in the sheets at hotels (I travel every week). I can see now that I have a lot of homework to do. Though, I can’t stand the thought of not drinking red wine. Any suggestions?

  16. Tina says:

    I did stumble onto your blog and I have found myself in simular circumstances with the itching with perimenopause. I would break out in hives so I started taking claritin and it gave me an over all better feeling. Thank you for blogging. Perimenopause and menopause can be quite overwhelming. Thanks Tina.

  17. Angela says:

    Hi. Thank you for your letter. I just came from an appointment with a ENT and have been assured that I am a very healthy woman. No issues other than deviated septum. But why still call my issues. Bingo you got it. Histamines and hormones. I feel like I’ve solved a puzzle. Thank you. My Dr. nodded when I said the two words together. Now to figure out how to sleep with congestion. And not feel so panicky all the time. Ugh the journey is just beginning.
    Angela

  18. wendy says:

    Thank you I have hot flashes so bad I turn fire red my face neck ears arms I sweet to cool down I have sometimes up to 16 a day my hives on my arms won’t go away I think I figured out what I ate to causes it I stop eating it they just get worse when have hotflash I can’t stand it what will hep

  19. karen says:

    Hi im 46 and experiencing what you describe on your blog. Is that peri menopause or straight up menopause? I thought it was just stress at first because I lost my son recently but the itching started before he got sick. I also feel chills and then ill get hot.

    • Karen,

      I am so sorry for your loss.

      Menopause is the absence of your period for twelve months. You’re probably in peri menopause. Your hormones are fluctuating. That and the stress of losing your son have probably wreaked havoc on your body.

      Read through my blog to learn what you can do to get the itching and hot flashes under control.

      I wish you all the best on this healing journey. My cousin suffered the loss of her young son twenty years ago and my family had to learn how to navigate through that tragedy. I hope you have a supportive network of family and friends to see through.

      Dale

  20. meryl says:

    Thank you so much for your information. I am a 57 yr old women going through menopause. I thought I have had all the unpleasentries that go along with this cycle of a women’s. Until a couple of days ago. I began to itch all over my body. And I started to get hivesat night. The only new thing that i have introduced into my diet is celantra. Please can you advise me where can I get a list of foods that may be high in histamine.

  21. Susie says:

    Hi all…I’m reading and asking myself if this is the answer. I have been so sick for so long, no doctor can explain my fatigue, awful hot flashes that don’t respond to HRT and the weight gain. Plus, my anxiety and high irritability. I’m giving the food elimination a try…I eat nuts almost everyday and while I think I’m a healthy eater, it vegetables in the food group to avoid. My throat is restricted, it feels like I can’t breathe and my upper lip and ears burn.Most days I feel like PMS x 100 although I’m 8 years into menopause.I’ll let you know.

  22. renee says:

    Hello..I”m 50 and have been going through various symptoms over the last 3 years. In 2012 I did a DaneiFast( just fruit and vegetables) diet with my church for a month. I love sugar, potatoes, etc. I had skin crawling(itching)? for about 3 months every night mostly on my scalp. I was given a cortisteroid and things calmed down. The physician I went to just told me I was just getting older. Now I havent had a period since November 2014, but have been having hot flashes that are unbearable. They are really intense in stressful situations to me. I found a product called Oceans 3 by Garden of Life thats for healthy hormones( it contains omega 3, vitamins and some herbs). It has helped some, but I believe the B vitamins may be the solution.

    Thanks for this site.

    • The B vitamins are definitely part of the equation. Omega 3 is also a key component to help reduce inflammation.

      I’d start looking for a new doctor…one who doesn’t think that getting older means you have health issues that can’t be corrected! Next thing he’ll tell you it’s all in your mind!

  23. Caroline Droege says:

    And there it is!!!! Thank you for your sharing your personal experience! I have been peri-menopausal for several years, sporadically finding relief with antihistamines. Lately, I have been looking at the connection with food & general environment, googled, and there was your blog! I am at once relieved to know I am not alone, and given hope for a regular (like) life again!
    Thank you! A thousand thank yous!

    Caroline

  24. LM says:

    Thank goodness I found you. I had a couple of mild hive outbreak over the last few years I have been in perimenopause, but this week I am suffering even more and have them on my neck and face. This week I also started a lower carb diet and so I thought it must be the sudden diet change. But no, you said bleach…. this past weekend I was cleaning out a moldy refrigerator with bleach! And the first time I had hives I had been cleaning a boat with bleach. So, I am not going to go back on high carbs because other than the hives I feel better than I have in ages. Now to read the rest of your site. Thank you!!

  25. Annette says:

    Thank you for sharing your experience, what you’ve learned, recipes etc etc! I am a 31-year old woman with histamine intoerance which has been made much worse by pregnancy and breastfeeding. I’ve been suffering for over 10 years but only figured out I have histamine intolerance earlier this year. I knew it must be hormone-related since I get so much worse with pregnancy and breastfeeding, but I’ve struggled to find much information out there except that mast cells are affected by female sex hormones. I’m still struggling my way through the diet as I have developed other food intolerances as well (including fructose which leaves me with no fruit to eat! And dairy and grains seem to trigger hay fever…) so it’s really helpful to read blogs like yours. I believe my intolerances were brought on by nutritional deficiencies and stress and I also plan to try a stomach acid supplement to see if it helps with bloating and mineral absorption. I eat an awful lot of olive oil so I wish my body would produce more DAO! It’s strange how we all react differently to high histamine foods. My worst ones are tomatoes, pineapple and bone broths whilst bacon and leftover meat produces a milder reaction. Wish I knew why! I’d love to be cured! Thanks again and good luck onwards

  26. I don’t have the issue with hives, but I have developed food intollerance since menopause. I suffered from early menopause, was in premature ovarian failure through my 30’s without the symptoms other than infertility – but when 40 hit – menopause hit me with a vengance: hot flashes every 45 minutes, weight gain like crazy, memory loss, mood swings (usually mellow me became really irritable and sometimes kinda mean) then I discovered the weird food sensitivities to two foods I used to eat lots blueberries (cry me a river!) and bananas (main ingredient in most smoothies and common post race food offered to runners). I tried them several times at different levels of ripeness – no – my sensitivity comes in the form of digestive intolerance (horrible cramps then after 2-3 hours diarrhea. Hormone replacement helped with the hot flashes and mean moods – but not the weight gain and food issues. Now I can eat a small quantity of these foods cooked – but not raw. Allergist tested and I am not allergic per say -but if I eat a raw blueberry or banana – I will pay with pain. thank you for writing about this issue. I’ve talked to doctors and searched the pub med database – but have found no answers.

    • and just to add I’ve always have sinus allergies, but they have gotten worse since menopause. I think part of that is due to global warming / changes in the seasons, increased pollen, etc – but menopause could play a role. Thank you so much for sharing your information

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