Onions !!!

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Onions !!!

Postby JANEJ » Wed Aug 15, 2007 5:44 pm


Does anyone have problems with onions. I have searched the web and seem to find very little about anyone who suffers an intollerance to them.

For a long time (as a child) my mother used to think i was just being fussy when i said "i dont like onions mum" but as i got older I could very definitely relate symptons to eating them.
Within 20 mins of eating onions I begin to get chronin stomach pain, almost doubling up effect. Bad wind (embarrassingly both ends!!). I feel extremely sick although never am. The only way to describe it is that awful nauseating feeling you get if you suffer from travel sickness. I also get thumping headaches accompanied by light sensitivity. Feeling of fatigue also set in and all i want to do is curl up and go to sleep.
The symptons are worse with raw onion and its not just if I eat raw onion I daren't eat, for example, a salad which has had raw onion resting on it. or use cutlery etc which has been in contact with an onion. Cooked onion has a slightly lower affect on me but still enough for me to avoid it. However the strange thing to this is that I can, on occasions, eat the odd pickled onion !!!
I also have a reaction to anything related to the onion so eating out and pre-cooked meals can be a real problem particularly as i do love indian, chinese and Thai food. Someone suggested using leeks as an alternative but thats a no no too.
Is there anyone who has the same problems and any suggestions for replacement in cooking. I would love to hear from someone else who suffers in the same was as my friends and family just think I'm being silly.
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Postby nynavey » Thu Sep 06, 2007 1:39 pm

I can't eat raw onions either or I get extreme stomach upset. If the onions are cooked, I can sometimes tolerate a small amount without too much cramping or diarrea, but I have begun to stay away from them in an attempt to solve my digetive problems. You aren't alone, my mother was the same way - no onions!
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Postby scarecrow » Wed Oct 10, 2007 4:46 pm

I have a friend who's intolerant to onions, it's really inconvenient when she comes to lunch! She can't eat shallots or leeks either. She got the usual IBS symptoms when she ate them (I got the same when I ate dairy). But I think dairy is easier to avoid than onions, the last time she had a problem was on an aircraft!
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Postby jayze » Fri Oct 26, 2007 2:44 pm

It sounds like you have an allergy to allicin, the quite potent ingredient that is found in foods from the lily family. Foods in this family include onions, leeks, garlic, shallots and chives.
I cant say I have personally come across people allergic to onions before, but I have met a few people who are allergic to garlic. Allicin is destroyed or at least weakened by cooking or processing so this might explain why cooked or pickled foods are okay for you.
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Postby scarecrow » Fri Oct 26, 2007 3:11 pm

Strangely she can eat garlic - in fact she substitutes it for onions all the time so it can't be allicin. She's not nice to be near when she does it either!
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Postby aussie_pete » Sat Oct 27, 2007 1:28 am

[quote="scarecrow"]Strangely she can eat garlic - in fact she substitutes it for onions all the time so it can't be allicin. She's not nice to be near when she does it either![/quote]

Hey there,

I experience similar symptoms (gas, bloating, cramps, diarrea, more gas...) to those described above by others after eating onions, leeks, shallots, chives, etc., but they also occur after consumption of dried onion, onion powder, as well as after eating foods that have been in contact with onions (and the rest) and prep tools/surfaces that have contacted them! Raw or cooked, the effects are the same.

Unfortunately this rules out most pre-packaged foods and many restaurant meals (JANEJ, I feel your pain!!).


I'm not affected by small-to-moderate amounts of garlic. Which is good. Very good!

I have had IBS for the last 20 years and am very careful about the foods I eat (dairy, spicy foods, tomatoes, and just about anything with flavor are now off-limits), so I'm pretty sure it's not other foods that are increasing my sensitivity to onion and other allium members (all but the exception, garlic).

Also, as garlic doesn't affect me, it would seem that allium is not the cause.

So, is there any other compound present in members of the allium family that is: a) potent and pervasive; b) not affected by cooking or drying; and, c) not present in garlic in any appreciable quantities?

Or is it something to do with gut flora?

Is there something we can do/take to prevent the discomfort?

Buggered if I know, but I really hope there's someone who does!!

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Postby jayze » Tue Nov 06, 2007 2:52 pm

hmmm, interesting. Sorry i cant be much further help, i was just sharing the little bit i knew about allicin and the onion/garlic family. I am intrigued now though... i will keep my eyes peeled for info on this one and let you know if I learn anything!
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Garlic powder

Postby Dancer » Sun Apr 06, 2008 11:15 pm

Hi, I was reading your posts with interest. I love garlic, however, since the birth of my son I have had violent reactions as those described e.g. cramps, bloating, vomiting, wind etc.....to garlic powder. I'm fine with raw and cooked onions, leeks and even fresh garlic, but anything with garlic powder,even crisps, makes me violently ill!!?? I don't understand it. Has anyone got any more info?
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Postby Ronnieby » Mon Jul 21, 2008 6:31 pm

In the building where I work is a Cafe with a salad bar for the office workers. Lately they've been putting raw onions in every mixed salad and, as if that wasn't bad enough, the purple chopped onions are also available on the side -- even though I have told them no everybody can eat them and requested onion-free more than once in the past. Today I pointed it out again but have lost confidence in their listening ability. I'll have to make my own lunch or go elsewhere.
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New facebook group for onion intolerance - check it out :)

Postby Mouse » Thu Aug 07, 2008 12:01 pm


Amazing to find other people like me!

Here's my story:
I have suffered with allium intolerance since I was about 16 or 17. Like most of you I worked it out for myself - I went to my GP and got told I had "IBS" and to "just deal with it". She was very unsympathetic and gave me these fibre supplement drinks (GROSS) which made me 100 x worse. I saw another doctor when I got really bad (diahorrea and cramps every day for a month) & he referred me to a dietician who was wonderful and helped sooo much. She said taking all that fibre was probably the WORST thing I could have done!

This is what she said (in a nut shell):

Your gut is meant to contain lots of good bacteria to help with digestion.
Bacteria living on the gut wall feed off fibre.
Apparently the gas, bloating, diarrheoa etc is caused by bad bacteria in the gut. Taking pro-biotics at this stage is no good because if there is so much bad bacteria on your gut wall - there is no space for the good bacteria to live.
Increasing your fibre intake (like I did) will just make the bad bacteria thrive.
First you need to kill the bad bacteria and to do this I was put on a fibre-free diet for 2 weeks. Basically all the stuff you're usually told is unhealthy - white bread no crusts :) potatos - no skins. The cramps and other symtoms almost instantly subsided - it was miraculous!!
After this I had lots and lots of probiotics - yoghurts and drinks etc to increase the good bacteria in my gut and slowly reintroduced fibre.
It really worked - I couldn't believe it after trying so many other things!

Anyway, whenever my IBS symptoms get really bad (luckily not very often now) I just follow the advice she gave me. I also avoid onions, leeks, chives and shallots like the plague.

I have set up a group on facebook (just search for "onion allergy/intolerance") or click on my website. I have started compiling some recipes and a list of onion-free supermarket finds on there. I hope people will find it useful and maybe help me add to it! :)
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Violent Onion Allergies

Postby ladyselena » Mon Oct 12, 2009 8:52 am

I have just the opposite of one of these posts. I can tolerate garlic but under NO circumstance can I tolerate raw onion. Instant fever, diarhea, vomitting if I even eat something that was in contact with a raw onion. Don't worry - my allergy is so severe that my body will not even allow me to swallow a raw onion. I have an instant auto gag response that gags it straight out of my body. This is a serious allergy and I hope will be taken more seriously seeing it seems most restaurants can't cook without them - just awful!
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Postby Icequeen » Sat Dec 05, 2009 10:53 pm

Yes onions caused me so much trouble until I worked out what was wrong. If I eat onion even a tiny drop of the juice or a bit of onion powder my tongue swells up and my throat closes, I have just about enough time to shove some anthistimane down my throat and use my inhaler to help me breathe. However before I knew that onions were the issue I would collapse all over the place, the amount of times I went to a and e and they tested me for all sorts of ridiculous things and never got to the bottom of it, because the doctors had not heard of an onion allergy they were of the belief that it could not possibly exist so i continued to suffer with these near death experiences every time I ate the food for years until I worked it out myself. Watch out for the rest of the onion family as well, I cannot have leeks, chives, shallots, aloe vera, tequiila or be near lillies (all the allions have the same effect) so if not eating onions is not working watch out for the rest of them.
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Postby midgetgirl619 » Sun Dec 13, 2009 8:50 pm

i thought i had a stomach virus, or a menstrual migraine this morning, then i remembered i ate fried wontons that most likely had some form of onion in it. I went to bed with light and sound sensitivity, woke up with the WORST headache, nausea, vomiting, frequent trips to the toilet, and my sinuses were killing me.
i didn't figure it out until i was awake and suffering for about 5 hours!
this has been going on for as long as i can remember, i'm 39, i NEVER eat raw onions, i can have onion powder, and i try to avoid dehydrated onions, they don't seem to bother me. i can eat garlic, but any other form of onion i avoid, green shallots, scallions etc.
i always thought i was allergic to onions, i guess from what i'm reading today on the internet it's an intolerance. this forum proves that i'm not the only one.
usually if i notice i had mistakenly ate onion i immediately take a chewable Pepcid AC sometimes that helps.
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Fellow allium allergy sufferer.

Postby Gabby66 » Wed Jan 13, 2010 12:14 am

I too have an allium allergy. I get the symptoms most people describe with onion, garlic, chives, shallots and leeks, and can have them for up to 3 days afterwards, depending on how much was in what I accidentally ate. Different people have it in differing degrees: some can eat onion and not garlic, some can have raw onion, but not cooked and vise versa...etc.

I find that onion and garlic powder is worse for me than fresh, perhaps because it is in a more concentrated form. I cannot eat meat prepared on a BBQ that has onion cooked on it - even if it is cooked on the other side of the BBQ plate. (The BBQ utensils still come in contact with it and that is enough!)

Now when my family cooks onion in the house, I feel ill from it. It is a real condition and people who don't have allergies don't seem to understand the pain and suffering involved for those of us who do. "Oh, just pick out the onion then!!" won't do, because the dish has been cooked with the onion (garlic, leeks, chives etc) in it and it has permeated the whole dish.

Yes it can be a problem eating out, or at a function becuase sometimes the only thing you can eat is a bread bun with nothing on it, and if you're thin like me, people are always trying to get you to eat more to fatten you up or comment on your abstinence!!!

All of my friends now know about it and when I am having a meal with them at their houses they always leave allium foods out of whatever they cook, or they'll show me labels and see if I can consume what they have cooked if they are unsure and always have other foods there that I can eat if that particular dish is ruled out.

Like most things in life, you can learn to live with it. Other people around you may have more of a problem with it than you do, but that is their problem. Being as careful as you can is all you can do to minimise the chances of having prolonged, painful and very embarrassing problems.

READ LABELS!!!!! Don't trust foods with "spices", or "natural spice flavourings" as these often include onions and garlic! I now exclusively cook allium free and don't miss the flavours and hardly ever have symptoms now except if someone says there's no allium foods in there when there is, or it's not listed in whatever I buy. I steer clear of anything with sauces (tomato, BBQ, sweet chilli) unless I know the brand does not contain allium. I don't use stock cubes or powder, as no one seems to make them without onion and/or garlic! It certainly makes life interesting, especially when travelling!
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Postby Timster » Wed Mar 24, 2010 1:20 am

I think I have an onion allergy - but mine is non-gastrointestinal related. Whenever I eat onions (I thought it was just raw - but have discovered it happens with cooked too), I get this light-headed feeling and my chest feels kinda heavy. Not really a headache and no stomach problem or gas problems - just woozy and tight-chested. This lasts for several hours after I've eaten them.

I've pretty much given up on them, but tonight my step-son sent over some homemade shrimp fried rice he'd made, and after a few bites I realized there were chopped cooked onions in it. I stopped right then and there, but it was too late - the symptoms started about 10 minutes later, and I still have them (ate about an hour ago).

Does this sound like a possible allergic reaction? I seem to handle garlic just fine. Haven't tried other onion-family vegetables like scallions or anything - kinda afraid to.

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