Struggling with seasonal allergies and IBS? Here are a couple things to watch out for when using homeopathic or OTC allergy meds
Spring and allergies go together like chocolate and anchovies: they really shouldn’t be together! Just when I get all excited about the weather warming up the grass and trees make me think twice. It wasn’t until the last couple years that I really started battling seasonal allergies, and oy…it can be downright miserable.
Unfortunately, I have IBS, seasonal allergies, and multiple food intolerances which make a terrible combination. It’s the perfect storm brewing when springtime comes! I am always on the lookout for natural allergy remedies and I usually post photos of some of the things I’m trying out on Instagram.
While I’m still finding natural and traditional remedies that work for my body, I have found through trial and error a few things that don’t work: medications or homeopathic remedies that contain lactose or alcohol (ethanol).
Last year my seasonal allergies hit me really hard, causing headaches, fatigue, dizziness, and lots of other not-so-great things. One of my first lines of defense was taking over the counter antihistamines, but some of them made me super drowsy (hello, Benadryl hangover) and some of them were bothering my stomach.
I even turned to homeopathic allergy tablets but with the same result – my stomach couldn’t tolerate them.
It took me a little while to figure it out, but I discovered that I was reacting to the lactose in the tablet itself. It may seem like a very small amount of lactose, but I discovered that I am very sensitive to anything derived fro dairy, especially when my seasonal allergies hit hard.
This reaction was even stronger when I took homeopathic allergy tablets since it generally takes a higher dose at a greater frequency to get the same effect as traditional OTC antihistamines, thus more lactose consumed in a 24 hour period.
Another thing I discovered about liquid homeopathic remedies: any of the alcohol-based formulas caused some stomach problems, mostly because of the alcohol (again, even small amounts of certain kinds of alcohol bother my stomach). This is one reason I ended up having reactions to Iberogast: it is 31% ethanol, which even in small doses really messes up my stomach.
Any sugar alcohols (like sorbitol, xylitol, erythritol, etc.) can be very problematic for people with IBS! Sorbitol causes the most trouble for my stomach.
Of course there are other reasons a medication or homeopathic remedy might be causing stomach upset, but lactose and alcohol are 2 very common carriers in medications and both cause problems for me, especially if I end up taking them for more than one day in a row. If you have a very sensitive stomach, check out the labels in your supplements and medications.
Check around to see if you can find some alternatives that don’t have lactose or alcohol in them if those seem to be bothersome. Liqui-gel caps seem to work pretty well for me, except that some of them still cause drowsiness.
Some other good choices for seasonal allergies that have worked for me without unpleasant side effects:
- Vitamin C
Some people can definitely tolerate the lactose and alcohol in medications, or the doses are so small that they don’t cause too much of a problem. But if you have IBS and are taking medication on a regular basis, these are definitely some things to talk to your doctor about.
This post is not intended to replace medical advice from your doctor, it is simply my experience. Always talk to your doctor before trying new supplements or allergy medications.
Sarah Jane Parker is the founder, recipe creator, and photographer behind The Fit Cookie. She’s a food allergy mom and healthy living blogger based in Wyoming. Sarah is also an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer, ACE Certified Health Coach, Revolution Running certified running coach, and an ACE Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist