Wednesday, January 18, 2017

My skin stopped itching when I cut eggs from my diet

I have always been able to eat anything I liked - no allergies, no food sensitivities, a cast iron stomach.

But after I turned 50 things started to change. 

If I ate a heavy meal after 7pm - or even 6 pm - I would wake up in the night with a feeling of drowning. My throat hurt and swelled, so much that I finally consulted my GP who sent me to a specialist. Acid reflux, he said. He prescribed medicine and early, light dinners, and after about a year things settled down again.

But then there was the rash. My skin started prickling. Hot showers only made it worse, with an itching so intense it was nearly impossible to resist scratching. Sometimes, especially after breakfast, my stomach swelled and hurt. I thought it might be the bread  and tried to avoid toast (which I loved). But the swollen, uncomfortable feeling and the itchiness just got worse.

I was getting frightened. Imagining terrible, perhaps fatal diseases.

A dermatologist said not to worry and gave me some cream. And an antihistamine.

When the itching went away on my forearm it popped up again on my thigh, or on my shoulder, or my stomach. Tiny bumps that turned red when, unthinkingly, I scratched them, bruising.

I didn't know what to do.

A friend whose life had been turned upside down by the sudden appearance of allergies listened to my story and suggested allergy tests.

"But first," she added, "it might help to try eliminating certain foods from your diet. One by one. Just to see if there's any improvement. There's no risk, no cost, and - who knows - it might help." And then, as an after thought: "And try drinking more water. My skin is sensitive to dehydration, yours might be too."

I went home, drank a glass of water and searched the internet for the most likely culprits. For a woman my age, bread, sulfates in wine, eggs, rice and aspirin were frequently mentioned. I already eat very little bread, and I enjoy my nightly glass of wine, so, by process of elimination, I decided to start with eggs.

Fried eggs, scrambled eggs, eggs in omelettes, quiches, flans - I eat a lot of eggs. Nary a day goes by, in fact, when I don't have two eggs.

Some people can get away with oatmeal or cereal for breakfast, but I tend to get weak and fluttering if I don't have something more substantial. So, just for good measure, I replaced the egg with meat. After all, I wasn't dieting - just trying to find out if I had a reaction to eggs.

The first day I cut out eggs nothing happened. I drank more water than usual, and, without really meaning to (all that water) drank no wine and took no aspirine.

The second day I cut out eggs I noticed the rash receding. Even hot water provoked less of a reaction.

The third day, my skin is noticeably smoother. And, I realized with relief, I had slept through the night, uninterrupted by the need to scratch.

It might not be the eggs, it might be all the water I'm drinking. Or perhaps the fact that I've unintentionally reduced the wine. But, whatever it is, my skin is improving. And I'm hoping that, if I stay away from eggs for a little while longer, my skin will recover completely.

Submitted by Carol Dougall, New Jersey

health - menopause - skin - food - diet - allergies - over50 - women - health tips - living

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