What is Yeast Allergy?
Yeast allergy is a food sensitivity reaction caused by ingestion of foods containing Saccharomyces cerevisiae (the main yeast species) or Candida albicans (a different type of yeast). Yeast allergen reactions are most commonly triggered by eating raw, undercooked, fermented, or pickled foods. They may also occur after consuming certain medications such as antibiotics and antifungals. Yeast allergen reactions can range from mild to life threatening.
Symptoms of Yeast Allergy:
Itching, burning, swelling, or tingling sensations on skin or mucous membranes of mouth and throat. These symptoms usually begin within minutes and last between one hour and several hours.
They may include: hives; runny nose; coughing up blood; wheezing; difficulty breathing; chest pain with shortness of breath; nausea and vomiting. Other symptoms may include: headache; fatigue; dizziness; chills; diarrhea, constipation, and abdominal cramps.
Risk Factors for Yeast Allergy:
People who have had a history of allergic rhinitis (hay fever), asthma, or hayfever-like symptoms are at increased risk of developing a yeast allergy. People with diabetes mellitus, chronic liver disease, thyroid problems or other conditions that affect the immune system are also at higher risk.
Testing for a Yeast Allergy:
A skin-prick test under the supervision of your physician can determine if you have a yeast allergy. A blood test may also be in order.
Complications of Yeast Allergy:
Complications may include anaphylactic shock and death.
Treating a Yeast Allergy:
Avoidance of foods containing yeast is important, as well as avoidance of medical preparations that contain yeast. Antihistamines and asthma inhalers may help to alleviate mild symptoms.
Prescription strength antihistamines, steroids and mast cell stabilizers may be used to treat more severe allergic reactions.
Preventing a Yeast Allergy:
You can help to prevent a yeast allergy by avoiding eating foods that contain high amounts of yeast, such as under-ripe bananas and beer (unless it is marked “beer-free”). Wines, vinegars, and foods containing high-fructose corn syrup may also pose a risk.
It is also important that you do not take antibiotics or antifungal medication unless absolutely necessary.
If you believe that you are experiencing the symptoms of a yeast reaction, see your physician immediately. If you have a pen-sized injector prescription for an epinephrine shot (commonly referred to as an “epi-pen”), carry it with you at all times and make sure that proper medical authorities are aware of its location and use in case of an emergency.
Other common allergies include: latex, bee stings, certain foods (e.g.
peanuts), and other substances. If you are allergic to bees, you may suffer a reaction after being stung by a bee or wasp; however, most people who are allergic to bees are also allergic to animal dander and other allergens.
Sources & references used in this article:
Systemic ketoconazole for yeast allergic patients with atopic dermatitis by O Bäck, J Bartosik – Journal of the European Academy of …, 2001 – Wiley Online Library
Vaccination of yeast sensitive individuals: review of safety data in the US vaccine adverse event reporting system (VAERS) by L DiMiceli, V Pool, JM Kelso, SV Shadomy, J Iskander… – Vaccine, 2006 – Elsevier
Skin prick test reactions to brewer’s yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) in adult atopic dermatitis patients by O Kortekangas‐Savolainen, K Lammintausta… – Allergy, 1993 – Wiley Online Library
Skin prick test response to enzyme enolase of the baker’s yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) in diagnosis of respiratory allergy by M Nittner-Marszalska, I Wójcicka-Kustrzeba… – Medical Science …, 2001 – medscimonit.com
Is There a Diet for “Yeast Allergy”? by E Cunningham – Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 2013 – jandonline.org