IBS Treatment Center

Seattle, WA

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What is a Nickel Allergy?

Posted on by IBSTC

As many of you know, some people are allergic to the metal nickel. This usually manifests as redness of the skin, which occurs when the skin comes in contact with nickel. This is what we might call a more classic allergic reaction, different from the hidden types of food allergies commonly discussed in this newsletter.

A nickel allergy is often discovered when exposure to an item of clothing or jewelry leads to a read rash. This may occur when a fastener made from nickel, such as the button on your pants, comes into contact with your belly and leads to a rash. Or when a piece of jewelry containing nickel, such as an earring, bracelet, watchband, etc. comes into contact with your skin and causes a rash. These reactions are often readily apparent to the wearer and are called contact dermatitis. But nickel allergies can also trigger eczema on other areas of the skin.

What does all of this have to do with digestive problems?

Far more than you might imagine. The digestive tract is a highly specialized extension of your skin. It is a continuation of the epithelial tissue that surrounds the rest of your body. Therefore, it should not be too surprising to realize that if something affects your skin, then it could also impact your digestive tract as well and cause abdominal pain, diarrhea, and other digestive problems. An astute reader recently wrote us and asked why we had never talked about this before. Frankly, it never occurred to us. But upon further investigation, it certainly makes sense.

Foods That Contain Nickel

Foods known to be high in nickel include chocolate (cocao), coffee, tea, nuts, soy beans and other legumes, and even oatmeal. Canned food is also often higher in nickel. But remember, just because you react to one or more of these foods does not necessarily mean that it is because of a nickel allergy. There are many other reasons that people can react to the foods listed above.

You may already know if you have a serious reaction to nickel due to a skin reaction, but in some cases your digestive reaction may not be that obvious.

Conventional allergists offer a patch test that can help, but is far from perfect. And in some cases the only way to sort is out is to do a trial diet low in nickel.

Unfortunately this is the only treatment as well, but it is possible to do. And if it isn’t solving your problem, then please come and see us. We’ll try to help you sort out the rest.
Contact the IBS Treatment Center HERE.

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