What’s Your Story?

I haven’t been very good about posting new content here. Hopefully a reader can help kickstart things. Laurens wrote in with his story about his oat allergy:

Good Morning,

I just started researching this issue and came upon your site while searching “oat allergy”. It did not surface when I searched “oat sensitivity”.

Here’s my story. I’m a healthy 46 year old male. As far as I know I’ve never been allergic or sensitive to any food or anything to that matter. I’ve always eaten a widely varied diet – usually very healthy, whole-grains non-fat this and that, the occasional double cheeseburger as well.

I used to eat processed breakfast cereal until about 7 years ago, when I started eating cooked crushed 9 grain cereal from the health food store bin. A couple years ago I ran out of this a few times and had my wife’s Quaker Oatmeal Squares. Of course at first I didn’t notice the correlation, but it soon became clear that when I ate this for breakfast, at about noon I would start having diarrhea, which would last for several hours. Finally I realized the connection and just stopped eating this cereal.

A few months later I was visiting some friends who ate Cheerios, and had the same effect. After this I stopped eating any whole oat cereal and have not suffered again, even though my cooked cereal contains some oats.

Yesterday my wife bough Life cereal on sale. I suspected trouble, but tried them anyway as an experiment – one that cost me a good nights sleep. The diarrhea returned.

So, I know what to do to stay feeling good – don’t eat a whole oat only product. But, I’ve never even heard of this type of sensitivity and most of the web links are for babies and children. Nothing so far about such a problem being acquired at middle age.

Note: Until I started my crushed grain cereal regimen I ate the processed all-oat cereal products with no deleterious effects.

That’ my story. Thanks for being here.

So, please share your story in the comments. How did you diagnose the allergy? How long ago was it? What are you finding helps you deal with it?

Laurens, thanks for sharing!


34 responses to “What’s Your Story?

  1. Hi,
    I think I am allergic to oats.
    I have not had any problems with foods before, however I recently bought a box of oat based cereal. Every time i have this, I get a bad stomach and diarrhea. I also have a lot of gas and bloated sensation on those days. I also tried quaker bars, cheerios, and those small sachets with quaker oatmeal and apples and cinnamon etc. Same symptoms in all those cases. I have not eaten oats much before I came to the US to study (2006). In my home country, I eat a lot of wheat with no problems. Even now, I eat a lot of bread, pasta etc with no problems. Only oats seem to mess with my body. From all the articles I have seen online, oats are clubbed with wheat and the allergy is supposed to be to gluten. I would like to know if there are others out there who are allergic/intolerant to oats but not the other grains. This would imply that there is some thing in oats but not in the other grains that is causing the problem. Perhaps it is similar to gluten so gets clubbed together with it..
    Wondering if this makes sense and if anyone can comment on this.

  2. Hi Pavan:

    My daughter had no wheat or gluten allergies, but she had an oat allergy. So yes, that’s very possible.

  3. I am allergic to oat, but not wheat or gluten. It makes my stomach hurt, swell, I get migrains, and itch really bad. I have cut out this (and my other food allergies) from my diet and feel MUCH better. I suggest getting an allergy test. This is how I found out that I was highly allergic to foods I was eating on a regular basis. Since my discovery my quality of life has completely changed. Good luck to you ~Stefanie

  4. I was diagnosed at 31 with a severe oat allergy, consumption (or exposure at all) results in a full on anaphalactic response. I am not allergic to any other grains…just this. In addition to hives, swelling of the face and upper respiratory tract I also suffer the “GI symptoms”. It is not uncommon, however, to have GI symptoms with a traditional food allergy. I am allergic to tomatoes and shellfish as well and I can tell you that you shouldn’t exclude the GI symptoms as an intollerance rather than an allergy. I struggled for years with severe GI symptoms, once I completed the various rounds of allergy testing, and eliminated from my diet those things which I was allergic to, my GI system normalized.

    **I would also tell you that a lot of research has shown that the consumption of probiotics has a HUGE positive effect on allergies and asthma.

  5. I am 45 years old and was just diagnosed with both wheat and oat allergies along with shrimp, tomato, carrot, mustard,grape, oregano, flaxseed, lettuce, spinach, onion, and sweet potato. It took a while to sort it out. I had to totally cut out wheat which was causing migraines, asthma attacks, and GI symptoms. I was still having asthma attacks. I ate a bowl of oatmeal and had an attack so I cut out oats and the attacks stopped. My doctor put me on a gluten-free diet.
    I’ve been looking for information about oat allergy but there’s not much out there. I’ll just have to read lables. If there is any one else who suffers from migraines, food allergies can contribute to it. Shrimp also gives me migraines.

    Best of luck! Sherry

  6. I had never heard of an oat allergy before. Even my girlfriend, who is celiac, scratches her head over this. But, for years now, it’s been pretty consistent – I eat oats and I pay for it (I am now 50 years old). Wheat is OK. Lately, Barley is becoming suspect. I am also becoming suspicious of maltodextrin. I am a long distance runner and need to take in calories so I’ve depended on Cliff Bars (oat based) and gel products (maltodextrin) and can be quite uncomfortable for about 24 hours afterward. So, for a 20 mile race coming up, I’m going to try and rely more on bananas and non-maltodextrin based energy products, e.g. Cliff Shots.

  7. Thanks for sharing your story Paul. How long have oats been affecting you?

  8. Hi!
    I sure was interested in reading the previous posts. I have noticed the past few years, actually since having my gall bladder out, that oats seem to really bother me. I also am lactose intolerant, so at first I attributed the symptoms after consuming oatmeal for breakfast, to the milk. But, after eliminating the milk and just having plain oatmeal with fruit, I have still been having problems after eating. I stayed away from oatmeal for at least two years until this morning, and I thought, well, I will try it again. Bad move! Within an hour of eating oatmeal, I had gas, nausea, stomach cramps, and shortness of breath. Six hours later, I am still nauseous, now have diarrhea, and had two asthma attacks. BUT, I do not have a problem thus far with wheat products, just oats. So, I guess my breakfast will have to consist of whole wheat toast or whole wheat cereals from now on. Too bad, I know that oats are good for you.
    By the way, this only started in my mid-40s, when I also developed lactose intolerance and an allergy to seafood, and asthma.

  9. its the oat fiber thats blowing everyone out. almost everyone i know who’s eaten any kind of whole oat grain cereal gets the same effect . cramping,farting and finally diahrea blowout!

  10. Hello,
    I just turned 30 and have been allergic to oats (and any oat product/derivative) for my whole life. I’ve never met anyone else who has had an oat allergy so finding this site was pretty cool. I grew up on Malt-o-Meal and Coco Wheats. Everytime I eat oats I get terrible diarhea, nausea (along with vomiting), and weirdest of all, terrible ear aches. I’ve never heard of anyone having ear aches as an allergy symptom. I “test” my allergy every few years hoping to have outgrown it, but no such luck yet (if anything it’s getting worse). I normally just avoid oats, but it seems like they are getting into everything because they are so healthy.

  11. I found this site when searching for info about oat allergies. I’ve recently come to the conclusion that I have developed an insensitivity to oats (I’m in my late 50s). I’ve noticed over the past several years that when I eat oatmeal, cheerios etc. for breakfast I often get stomach cramps by late morning followed by an urgent need to get to the toilet. When I avoid the oats all seems OK. The only thing I can think of that has changed (other than getting older) is that I’ve been taking Lipitor to lower my moderately high cholesterol over roughly the same period. Since oats are supposed to help in lowering cholesterol I wonder if there’s some interaction between the two causing the gastro-intestinal problems?

  12. Hi!
    I have a 7 month old baby with what appears to be severe oat allergy.
    My head is still spinning around so excuse me if this post makes little sense 🙂

    We had introduced oat to him at 5.5 months with no reactions. He didn’t “like” them but that was it.
    Recently (3 weeks ago) I gave him “mixed baby cereal” (containing rice, barley, oats and wheat) and he projectile vomited 15-17 times within 3 hours followed by very pale and foul-smelling stools. We thought it was a gastro. We reintroduced rice and barley successfully until he had oats again the following week. Same reaction (and back to the ER).
    Third week came along with an ultrasound to overrule other issues and I suspected about oats (he had had them both times and reaction was exactly 2 hours after eating them), so I tried a little teaspoon and voilà, same thing.

    His pediatrician adviced me to stop all oat products and hold wheat and barley until 9 months.

    I did some research online and all “oat allergies” I could find were related to celiac disease so it’s reassuring to read other stories of oat allergy that are not combined with wheat and barley (my son chews on bread with no reaction whatsoever).

    If you have any advice for me it will be great! Thanks so much

  13. I’m reading some of these entries and just when I think I’m honing in on an answer, something changes…

    I will get diarrhea like clockwork 6 hours to the second after I eat a full bowl or two of LIFE CEREAL. I eat all kinds of breakfast cereals. I love Life particularly, and it even is a common occurance when I feel like a bowl in the evening, I look at the watch and count ahead 6 hours. Not 7 or 5, but SIX. If I’m willing to get up in the night, I go for it… I don’t know what single ingredient LIFE has that conflicts with my body, but I’m dying to get an answer. I know of no other cereals or foods that do this. I used to have a similar reaction to GRAHAM CRACKERS. 6 hours for the inevitible result. That has subsided. Occasionally, but LIFE is the major culprit.

    Any help is appreciated. This did not happen to me as a kid. I’m in my late 40’s now and it’s a common occurrence for the past 20 years. And yet, I’m not willing to give it up. I just have to plan on a system cleansing exactly six hours later. Help please…

  14. Rebecca Zikes

    I, too, was diagnosed with an oat allergyat age 48. No gut or breathing issues, but severe skin rash (delayed reaction). Now 63 and have tried to eath them occasionally, but the skin problem comes back every time. Good luck to all of you. For a cereal replacement (hot or cold) try quinoa.

  15. My husband has been dealing with health issues for the last couple of years that included symptoms of IBS along with chest cramping and other issues. We have found out yesterday that he has an allergy to oats which was his daily breakfast. I am working on getting new foods that are oat free. I have found lists that are safe for his other allergies (soy and walnuts) but have yet to find any kind of list for oats. Does any one have any suggestions other than reading every label in the grocery store?

  16. I also think I may have a oat allergy. At about 40 years of she Life and Cheerios cereal have given me issues with diarrhea by noon if eaten for breakfast. I thought it was something in the cereals that was the culprit so only had them when I really craved them or was the only cereal in the house. Or glutton for punishment. Now 47 years old I recently purchased Life cereal again for my 9 month old daughter who has a severe dairy allergy as I needed new foods for her to try. So it’s in the panty I ate it on Tuesday not on Wednesday then Thursday and Friday. This time I feel like I’m sick on top of the
    afternoon run to the restroom. Aches and pains ichy ear canals. Runny nose. All symptoms I get from my
    seasonal allergies. So after reading these posts on Saturday I’m going to take my Allergy pills and stay
    away from oat based producs and see if I feel better.

    Is the oat thing something that adults find issue with later in life? Any research would be helpful. Thanks Rick B

  17. I to suffer from Oat sensitivity. I can eat 1 bowl of oat meal or oat meal cookies to equal about a bowl of oatmeal and I’m okay. Any more and several hours later I will need to run to the bathroom. Cereals like cheerios, lucky charms or any others that contain oat flour are out. One bowl of these and I will need to spend time in the bathroom 3-4 hours in the bathroom.

  18. Miguelina Schuldt

    Earache can be really annoying but i usually take some pain killers and antibiotics to manage it.-

    The latest article coming from our new website

  19. OMG….I thought I was alone in this or crazy!!! I’m 44 years old and started having issues several years ago. Cheerios and Quaker Oat Squares are my favorite cereals. I also LOVE oatmeal and granola bars…Now if I eat oatmeal for breakfast, you can hear my stomach from across my desk all morning….not to mention it makes it hard to be at work when you have to run to the restroom! I suppose there is nothing we can do but cut the inflaming items out of our diets?! Why isn’t there more research being done on this, like Celiac? I sure don’t fit into that category. 😦 What can we do?

  20. Hmmm…I have been researching this problem as I have the same experience. Any time I eat oats I get bloating, gas, stomach cramps and bad diarrhea. I can eat any other grain including wheat and even really high fibre stuff with no effects. I never had a problem with oats until the last few years (age 41) I’m wondering if it’s something in the oats or is it something to do with the way it’s grown? Fertilisers, pesticides and stuff like that?

  21. Just wondering does anyone else find the problems persist without oats (or other grains such as wheat etc) in their daily diets? Mine did, but I had candidiasis too, which I think is related to the sugar content of foods.
    I don’t have celiacs disease, but I can’t tolerate grains such as wheat and oats. I also can’t have dairy as I experience all the same symptoms which are; itchiness, rashes, upset stomach (gas, diarrhea) headaches, asthma.
    I don’t like taking medications so these days I don’t take/use any of the steroid based stuff the doctors had always prescribed me. I just address the problem through diet and so far it’s working, and pretty enjoyable too.

    I have for a long time now eaten a healthy whole food diet but I found the high carb foods became a bit of a problem so recently I decided to trial a low carb diet. When I do include higher a carb count I usually have Quinoa and Amaranth and I find they are great, they don’t cause me any of the stomach upsets that grains do.

    For about 2.5 months now I’ve been on a very low carb, high fat/protein diet to get the candidiasis under control and it’s definitely worked.
    My typical daily protein/carb count at the moment is this;
    protien; 70-80g (rice/pea powder, pulses, seeds, nuts unrefined oils and vegetables)
    carbs; 115g (mainly vegetables, sometimes Quinoa or Amaranth, occasional apple or banana)
    The protein powders are all natural unflavored, low carb rice and pea powders from bodybuilding supply stores.
    This high protein and fat diet doesn’t result in an excess of body fat for me, I weigh 57kg and I train weights and or cardio 6 days per week. The only downside I have noticed is that I have to be aware of low energy levels, especially now that I’m in the 3rd month of low carbs (ketosis) but that’s off topic.

    I don’t know if any of this helps anyone else but I just thought it was worth a mention, especially the Quinoa and Amaranth option for breakfast!
    I wish everyone well in managing their oat (and/or other) allergies.

  22. Hi. I also discovered I was allergic to oat in my early 40s. I will have difficulty in breathing, hives and lots of sticky perspiration for at least 4 hours. I felt really drained after the episode and needed to rest the whole day to recuperate. I have since avoided oat and am very conscious in reading the contents label before consuming any food.

  23. My husband has cramps & diarrhea about 6 – 8 hours after eating Quaker Oat Squares or Cheerios but ONLY if he has it with MILK. Dry cereal will go through him with no problem. This seems odd to me. He can tolerate milk with wheat based cereals (raisin bran, Frosted Mini Wheats) with no problem as well. It’s just the milk + oats that results in a bad afternoon for him. Anyone else heard of this? Any suggestions for a solution?

  24. Quaker Oat Squares are tasty as all get-out but I find that within a few hours of eating even a small bowlful of them – with or without milk – I get pronounced diarrhea.

  25. infinityfairy

    I’m 32 years old and my allergy to oats was discovered before I was born. My mother apparently broke out with hives across her stomach several times during my development. Any time I eat something containing an oat product, I break out with hives… first around my mouth, then my stomach and back, and over the course the following week I might find them on my arms or legs sporadically.

    Physical contact to oat products has resulted in hives on my forearms before, but skin contact is not as apparent / reactive as ingesting it. I’m not allergic to other grains, and I often find out the hard way that a food is made with some form or oat derivative… like discovering Taco Bell’s ” ground beef” contains “isolated oat product” as filler for texture(?).

    On a side note, I have no allergy to poison oak/ivy/sumac. I can roll around in it, rip it apart without an itch, but oatmeal SUCKS. I doubt there is any direct correlation, but I like to believe it’s a valid tradeoff, lol

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  27. I too have a major problem with Life cereal. It’s really the only one that does it to me though. Every time I eat it, later that afternoon I have painful diarrhea. I do have IBS and generally only spicy and gassy foods do this to me. I eat all sorts of other c er also both hot and cold with no problems. Life cereal was always my favorite growing up so I’m pretty bummed out about it. I have had digestive issues in one form or another for my whole life. From infant to about pre-teen years, my problem was chronic constipation. Then I had some good years in the middle. After 30 though the diarrhea years began. I was diagnosed with IBS when I was 35 and have been living with it. It’s a push and pull relationship sometimes. By and large I can manage just by being cautious about what I eat but every now and then temptation gets the better of me. Good luck with your issues. 🙂

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  29. Wooe interesting. I love fruit and fiber cereal. And have been eating it for a while but one day, when I hit 40, I ate fruit and fiber cereal and I pooed like crazy. Needless to say that was the last time I brought the stuff near my mouth. I also noticed though it is not as bad, that I have to be careful with Quaker Oats. If I eat it in small quantities, I am OK. But if I eat a lot of it, yep it makes me go

  30. Corrina Schader

    I’m a 25yr old female with no allergies except milk. I use non dairy milks or lactose free. About a year ago I noticed I would get sick when eating my off-brand lucky charms. I thought it was the soy milk at first, so tried eating it again with almond milk. Same thing happened, so I threw out the cereal. This happens almost every time I eat an off brand cereal like malt O’meal. I’m not sure why since I’ve had these brands before with no effects.

  31. I am not sure if I have an oat allergy, as I can eat oatmeal and oatmeal cookies with just gas as side effect, but when I eat Life cereal I often get full blown IBS symptoms. I really like Life cereal and first noticed trouble with Cinnamon Life about 15 years ago and now both upset my bowels. For me I have correlated an occasional lactose intolerance so that the combination is quite volatile. I thought it was just me, so somewhat comforted to know that others have found Quaker cold cereals to be a common cause of troubles.

  32. Marage Lewis

    Finally someone has had the same experience as me. I’m 35 years old and have had this issue since my early 20’s. I used to love cereals like Apple Jack’s, and Honey Nut Cheerios. Then it seemed all of a sudden that I would have strong stomach cramping, followed by bouts of the strangest diarrhea. Then several years later I discovered Cinnamon Life. I absolutely loved it and ate a lot of it. I grew to regret that. I was so sick for almost 8 hours. I’d wait a few years and try it again. Same result. Tonight I tried again and boy am I sorry. A friend suggested maybe I was lactose intolerant. It doesn’t happen with all cereal though, so I dont think it’s the milk. I wondered if it was an oat issue. Thanks for sharing. Now I am sure it’s the oats.

  33. All- its no longer a secret- there are millions of people suffering from diarrhoea brought on by eating oats and theres no research on it. Also for most of us, its not just increased fibre etc etc in the diet. I believe it could be something like alpha gal. Alpha gal/MMA is a carbohydrate in red meat (pork, lamb, beef, )that also brings on diarrhoea sometime (4-8 hrs) after eating IN SOME PEOPLE(irrespective of tick bites). Its been known for only about 12 years. My reactions to red meat and oats is very similar. Best solution- avoid.

  34. Further to my blog- in 2015 Soh published Carbohydrates as food allergens in Asia Pacific Allergy in which he stated that in the past it was believed ” that carbohydrate epitopes, on their own, do not contribute significantly to the induction of allergic reactions.”
    However, it seems this has now changed and its very possible that an allergic response to a pure carbohydrate in the oats could be causing the distress we suffer from.

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