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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 also have this problem, but recently have ensuring I eat one yogurt when I start to experience these symptoms of bloating, gas, and excessive belching. I have been sticking with activia, but am sure any yogurt with the probiotics added should help. I do find the yogurt really relieving my symptoms.

April 17, 2017 - 1:31pm
EmpowHER Guest

Throwing my 2 cents in -- I can't have onion in any form, or garlic, either. My two fixes for cooking at home: Using garlic infused olive oil. Apparently the problem causer in garlic is not oil soluble, so you can still have the flavour in the oil. For onion, I use hing/asafoetida (which has other side effects for certain people so research it before use).

I found daily probiotics didn't help me at all. What has helped are Pudin Hara mint capsules (I usually order them from Amazon). They are the only thing I find that helps reduce the pain and bloating after eating something I shouldn't have.

April 1, 2017 - 7:13am
EmpowHER Guest

HI All, what a relief to find a group of people with the same problem as me! I have had a garlic and (especially raw) onion intolerance for years now - makes me vomit, gives me diarrhoea, makes me stink for days etc but no one seems to ever have heard of it! The US is a particularly difficult place to eat out as garlic or garlic powder is added to a huge percentage of all dishes OR they cover them in raw onion or chives or shallots! I suffer from IBS so also have a problem with gluten and dairy but not as severe as the garlic issue. Some observations and tips in case they help anyone else:
- Following a FODMAP diet can really help
- I have found that using ginger root in recipes can be a great substitute for garlic - curries, stir fries, risottos etc - just chop it up small the same way you would do with raw garlic.
- If you can tolerate cooked onion then red onions seem to be the ones I react to the least. I usually only add about half what the recipe says though.
- A lot of food in Italy itself - particularly Northern Italy - is completely garlic-free. It is just the UK and US versions of these dishes that contain garlic. So don't be afraid to visit! The same thing goes for parts of Mexico - in Cabo St Lucas they used only corn flour and no garlic in the food at all - I was in food heaven!
- Eating out is hard but many places can deal with it if you order in advance. If this is not possible then stick with Steak/grilled chicken/fish and Fries and Salad /Vegetables (but with only oil and vinegar dressing because many others have garlic powder in them). What I also do is just not bother with the menu and ask the waiter to tell the chef the problem and suggest he/she tells me what they can prepare that I can eat. Other than my intolerances I am not fussy and I've ended up with some amazing meals that way!
- At home I have embraced the challenge and always cook fresh as prepared meals and sauces usually have garlic in them. I have developed lots of speedy recipes without garlic so I really don't miss them. I use ginger (see above); lemon and lime juice; chilli; turmeric; fresh herbs such as cilantro, basil, parsley etc to add flavour and I get lots of positive praise when we have dinner parties - I don't think anyone misses the garlic. Well they keep coming over to eat here anyway!
- Making your own stock also helps when you then want to make gravy, risotto, soup later on. Enjoy a delicious roast chicken at home, strip off the meat to eat the next day then put the bones in a big pan, just covered with water. Add a few bay leaves and some whole black peppercorns (and any other dried herbs if you fancy it) and boil for about 90 minutes. Pull out the big stuff and drain of the rest through a colander then pour into small Tupper ware pots to freeze and use whenever you need it. This is really easy and will ensure you are not getting losing out on flavour when you cook.
- I have also read on an IBS website that if you add garlic and onion to oil and fry it then remove the garlic or onion pieces (this is what they mean by garlic or onion infused oil) then that won't have the same effect on you as the actual garlic or onion if you suffer from IBS. However, I now cannot stand the taste of either of them so I haven't tried this!
Hope some of this helps some of you.

January 6, 2017 - 10:52am
EmpowHER Guest

I have been suffering from a garlic and onion intolerance for over 2 years now and I have previously written a comment on here at something stage. I have been told to try eliminate foods from my diet and to follow a fodmaps diet. As I'm not in the circumstances where I can easily do this and know that it will 100% I haven chosen not to do it yet! I have herd good things about it tho.
But for me if I just avoid these food tho it might mean everything on a restaurant menu or constantly asking for food without it, has been enough for me so far.
BUT I'm have discovered using Iburogast from the chemist after seeing it on tv and at the gastroenterologist that I see in their shelves I decided to buy some!
100% HONESTLY I can eat meals with onion and garlic in them and be fine!! No gas no bloating and no cramps!! No going to the toilet nothing!!! I'm just hoping that it will last forever and that I won't all of a sudden become immune to it or something

But I just wanted everyone out there to know that suffers from ibs like symptoms to try it!! I'm spewing I didn't try it sooner to tell you the truth! 20 drops into a small amount of water before your meal that's it!
Cost about $24. At my chemist but is definitely worth its weight in gold!!
Good luck hope you have had the success I have had so far!

December 20, 2016 - 3:20am
EmpowHER Guest

I got tonsil stones from raw onions. Not cooked just raw. Then I decided to swallow raw garlic one winter to boost my immune system. Just swallow not chew. What a mistake that was! My heart accelerated, I felt lightheaded, and thought my blood pressure dropped. It also made me feel anxious. The gas was smelly and sure enough there were the tonsil stones in my mouth again. So now no more raw onions, or garlic ever.

December 19, 2016 - 12:47am

Look up FODMAPS. People with IBS often have difficulty digesting garlic. It belongs to the grouping of foods called fructans. Onions are in this category as is wheat. When I was pregnant, the smell of onions and garlic would make me wretch. I got over that but now the aversion has returned. And yes, it's a pain going to a restaurant.

November 7, 2016 - 10:38pm
HERWriter Guide (reply to Sari)

Thanks for your input Sari.

As someone with post viral IBS D and C, I concur. I gave up restaurants in the end and eating became a science. Not a pleasure - just a science.

But with time and practice - it's ok!

After a final diagnosis and medication my diet is much more varied (even though I am a strict vegetarian) and I can eat out again.

There are some food brands that are FODMAP friendly - many are in Australia for some reason but there are also some FOD friendly restaurants. It takes research.


November 8, 2016 - 2:15pm
EmpowHER Guest

I had all these same problems and went to a gastroenterologist and he tested a stool sample and ground I had a gut parasite, this would make me sick when eating anything that contained onion n garlic. I then took courses of antibiotics and eventually got over it! But now he is saying it's my own stomach because I am still getting the symptoms and have had another stool test done now I'm off to see a dietitian to help me eat the right things

August 22, 2016 - 5:19pm
EmpowHER Guest

I've had the exact same symptoms for most of my life and it is a garlic intolerance. I try to avoid garlic as much as possible, but it is added into so many foods (even small doses of powder in crackers can affect me). The best preventative treatment I have found is taking a beano pill before I eat anything that contains garlic. Sometimes two if I am out at an Italian restaurant. It really makes a world of difference.

July 11, 2016 - 7:39pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

I have been fighting this for 20 years with no information or confirmation from my doctor. It is getting worse as I get older. Beano helps a lot for small amounts of garlic powder but raw or whole garlic creates a reaction that I believe could be very dangerous with severe diarrhea and vomiting which cause dehydration, rapid heartbeat and faint feeling.
Last night we ate at Red Lobster and I took Beano but I was up all night extremely sick. Every food on my plate was laced with garlic.

People don't believe that I am allergic or have a severe reaction. Any ideas on books or reading material on the subject would be appreciated.

January 21, 2017 - 10:34am
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