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Garlic intolerance = digestive nightmare!

By Anonymous August 30, 2010 - 2:36pm
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I have a self-diagnosed intolerance to garlic that is getting worse with age. My symptoms include terrible gas, bloating and up to 2 days of constipation or diarrhea. I also emit a strong garlic odor on my breath, skin and when I experience gas and bowel movements following a dose. I am frustrated because I have finally admitted to myself that garlic is an issue for me and have been telling restaurants that I am ALLERGIC to garlic. I still get served garlic consistently. I am generally a very healthful person and know garlic has many health benefits. I am wondering if there is a natural supplement of some sort that might counteract garlic's negative effects on me so that I can consume it regularly and without the abdominal pain and digestive issues I experience now.

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EmpowHER Guest

I've been frantically looking for anything that can help me with my garlic intolerance. Last night after eating out I spent the night awake with severe cramps, nausea and diarrhea after a meal at an Indian restaurant. It wasn't smart I know, but for years I've been avoiding eating out because it seems nobody understands when you tell them you just cannot eat garlic. I find garlic gets thrown into pretty much everything - seasonings, salad dressings, pastes, and even if you ask that they leave it out, it still finds its way into your food. I self-diagnosed after along period of carefully excluding and re-introducing foods into my diet and numerous visits to the GI specialists who diagnosed me with IBS even though I let them know the only foods that I have problems with are garlic and dairy (which I avoid or take a lactaid for), I just don't know what to do about the garlic! Help! I thought I was going to die yesterday!

April 30, 2016 - 2:43pm
Susan Cody HERWriter Guide (reply to Anonymous)

Hi Anon!

I have post-infectious IBS and am intolerant to garlic and you're right - it's in everything! I'm shocked people don't throw it into desserts - it everywhere!

As a consequence, I rarely eat out and am very careful with home cooking.

One piece of advice I read is that garlic powder seems to be less hard on the system that regular, fresh garlic/crushed garlic etc.

Good luck - I feel you pain!


May 2, 2016 - 1:48pm
EmpowHER Guest

After severe allergic reactions to certain food items, garlic being one of them, I was diagnosed with IBS. My symptoms is "spastic colon". It is triggered by any amount of garlic, caffeine, chocolate, and any kind of peppers. My Gastroenterologist prescribed a medicine called dicyclomine, which keeps my intestine in a relaxed state during non-bowel movement times, but will not allow me eat these items without problems. The allergic reactions to garlic and peppers are a burning in my rectum, resulting in sore inside my anus that bleeds during any bowel movement. The allergic reaction mimics peristaltic action and makes go to bathroom, thereby causing the, now, anal irritation to bleed. I too have talk to waiters and chefs, while dining out, and read food labels at supermarkets. My concern is that will this get worse as I get older and wifi it become debilitating. So far, my doctor can shed no light on this. Gastroenterologists don't seem to have a full understanding of this ailment and how to combat or eliminate it.

February 6, 2016 - 2:46pm
EmpowHER Guest

I have experienced some similar symptoms; however, they are not quite as severe. I am beginning to think that my issue with garlic might fall under the category of being "sensitive" to it rather than allergic. The thing I dislike the most is how the taste of garlic tends to remain, no matter how I might try to get rid of it with mints, toothpaste and mouthwash. I will just do my best to avoid it in the future.

February 2, 2016 - 10:43pm
EmpowHER Guest

Hi, I am a 63 yr old business man and I self diagnosed this in myself 40 years ago when there was no help out there. Everyone thought I was being 'difficult' and family meals were a nightmare. I had to chose between not being 'difficult' and getting ill. Over the years I have developed the following tactics as I have to eat out all over the world at business dinners.
I have a simple green side salad for my starter with no dressing, and of course no onion family. Most places are happy to make up a fresh salad and leave out those. I ask for lemon juice and olive oil on the side for the dressing. For my main I ask for the cheese plate from the desert menu, but with no relish or pickle. For over thirty years now I have never been accidentally poisoned is I follow this rule. One other trick: always have a small tube of plain tomato puree on you. It means you can have pizza anywhere, as they are always made fresh and always happy to use puree instead of their own tomato base if they know you have a garlic allergy. And of course the great thing with pizza is you get to choose the toppings.

January 30, 2016 - 2:05pm
EmpowHER Guest

My husband and children have the same sensitivity to garlic. My husband is 45 and loves to cook. Through years of trial and error we have narrowed their reaction to strictly raw garlic. The cramping and digestion issues are ridiculous. I would have thought my husband was just being weird if it were not for giving to three children with his identical issue. We still cool with garlic, but it has to be dehydrated garlic powder or better yet, we occasionally roast a whole bulb, just brush with olive oil and bake for an hour. Maybe that will help some of you enjoy the taste without the discomfort.

I look like an insane person at the grocery store as I flip over bottle of salad dressing and jars of marina. As much as I wish I had time to make everything from scratch, I just don't with 5 people in the household. Paula Newman Marinara is one of the only jarred sauces we buy because they use dehydrated garlic. Not all of that brand's sauces use dehydrated, you really have to read the label and look for the asterisk.


January 8, 2016 - 10:12pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

I can also eat garlic if it is cooked whole -- onions, too -- but not dehydrated. Same with onions. I have order steak and such with no seasoning, because so many places think it is necessary to spice up a good piece of meat with season salt (or a marinade).

April 30, 2016 - 7:28pm
EmpowHER Guest

After years of IBS and garlic allergies as well as intolerance to gluten I have come to find that peppermint gum or peppermints in the purse paired with peppermint tea before going out can sometimes help...gas pills are good to help immediately soon as you consume garlic but it's definitely not healthy to use on a daily basis and since garlic is in practically everything and anywhere you g...

I've tried a variety of natural solutions I tend to carry a very large purse and so like Mary Poppins I can suddenly pull out a bag of mini carrots. Carrots (for whatever reason) if I consume about two to three raw carrots after starting to feel the heartburn nausea headachy onset of garlic reaction will immediately help to slow that down. Meanwhile the peppermint helps to ease the stomach and settle the nerves that come with the reaction. I avoid garlic at all costs got rid of pizza barbecue sauce pretty much anything or will really be very clear to restaurants that I am allergic to garlic and need them to make something without garlic in it or just completely blind and playing with a little bit of salt and maybe some pepper but I'd rather use the table salt and table pepper SunTrust the chef from putting anything else inside of it to make it flavorfull...

December 7, 2015 - 9:51pm
EmpowHER Guest

I have found that if I accidentally consume garlic (usually because a restaurant served it or I was not diligent in avoiding it) I can counteract some of the reactions by immediately taking Gaia's Gas and Bloating pills and one or two peppermint pills. Depending on how fresh the garlic was, and how much I consumed, it can lesson my reactions by up to 75%. I will even take it prior to going out to social events as a precaution.

October 18, 2015 - 7:44pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Yes, my brother tells me that Beano helps him, but he is only moderately sensitive.

April 30, 2016 - 7:32pm
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