Onion Intolerance

Onion Intolerance Information

An onion intolerance is a situation where a person experiences negative symptoms after eating onions or foods that contain onions. An onion intolerance is not an onion allergy. Onion allergy symptoms are immediate and often very severe. Allergy symptoms can even be life-threatening in some cases. This is different from an onion intolerance. With an onion intolerance, symptoms are delayed and they are less severe. They can appear several hours after consuming the offending food and can even be delayed by up to a day or more. Onion intolerance symptoms are not life-threatening, but they can be lifestyle-threatening.

Onion intolerances, much like all food intolerances, are very individual. Different people will experience different symptoms in varying degrees and for different amounts of time. It depends on the person.

Due to the delay and the variety of symptoms, it is difficult for many people to even know that they have an onion intolerance without receiving detailed information from a medical professional.

What is an Onion Intolerance?



An onion intolerance occurs when a person cannot consume onions without later experiencing negative symptoms. In some people, the onion intolerance may include other members of the onion family such as shallots, garlic, chives, leeks and other such foods. Other people will simply have issues with onions themselves, but be able to eat other foods in the same family without issue. As mentioned, onion intolerances are highly individual. Different people experience onion intolerances in different ways.

An onion intolerance can develop at any stage in life. A person who previously had no issue eating onions can later develop an onion intolerance. In addition, a person may go for several years with an onion intolerance without fully understanding that the negative symptoms they are feeling are associated with onions.

The intolerance includes many different types of onions prepared in a number of different ways and it includes both raw and cooked onions as well as onion powder and onion extract. Since many foods are prepared with onions, it can be tough for people to pinpoint that the onions themselves (as opposed to another ingredient in the meal) are in fact causing the issue. This is another reason why discovering that you have an onion intolerance can be difficult without assistance.

Onion Intolerance Symptoms



Onion intolerances vary greatly between different people. There is no single set of symptoms that each person with an onion intolerance will feel. There are also differences in the number of symptoms, the severity of symptoms and the amount of time between eating the onion and experiencing the negative feelings.

People who have a digestive onion intolerance often experience some of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, bloating, excessive gas, diarrhea as well as various other symptoms such as headaches and fatigue. Some people with an onion intolerance will experience symptoms for a longer period of time than others. These symptoms can appear within hours of eating an onion or another offending food, but symptoms can be delayed by up to a day or more. An immune onion intolerance will result in very individual symptoms.

Onion Intolerance Treatment



Removing onions (and any other offending foods) from a person’s diet will eliminate the associated onion intolerance symptoms. This process includes removing all dishes that are made with onions as well. For this reason, it is important that a person with an onion intolerance checks the ingredients of all foods before eating them. You will need to pay close attention to labels on premade and packaged food and ask questions in restaurants to determine specific ingredients. Onions are commonly used in many recipes so, in some cases and in some cultures, it can be difficult to avoid onions. A person with an onion intolerance will need to be diligent in checking ingredients and ensure that those cooking their food are aware of their intolerance. Sometimes, an intolerance may not be properly understood. Certain people may consider those with onion intolerances to simply be “picky eaters.” In these cases, a person suffering from an onion intolerance will need to be clear and firm about his or her situation.

A person with an onion intolerance does not need to permanently remove onions from his or her diet. In many cases, a person can return to eating onions and any other offending foods within a period of time. This process should be managed by a health professional.


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