Some people believe that self-diagnosis is possible for Histamine Intolerance. It is much more complicated than that.
I have been watching the goings on both off-line and on-line for a while now, and would like to clear up one misconception… maybe two. First of all self-diagnosis is not a viable option. There is a worrying development in that people are only looking at the set of symptoms that have been made available by different sources (including the one on the histamineintolerance.org.uk website) and recognise some of them immediately as being similar to their own. This leads to the “Eureka” moment – the immediate assumption that “This is it!”.
Now hold your horses please! It’s becoming increasingly clear that HIT is very often a secondary condition. In other words, there’s at least one other condition present which is aggravating the HIT. Many patients have at least one other food intolerance such as, for example, lactose intolerance, fructose malabsorption or other bowel-related conditions such as coeliac disease, though there are plenty of other possibilities as well.
The worst thing about it is that the symptoms caused by these conditions look very similar, especially in the diarrhoea and flatulence department. This makes self-diagnosis absolutely impossible, and that is why I keep hammering on about sending people back to their GPs. No doctor, no diagnosis. No diagnosis, no diet. No diet, no fun at all.
I also keep hammering on about keeping a food diary. Some of us have no other option and have to drum up the discipline if we want to get anywhere at all. Apart from anything else, it will help the medical professional or the registered dietician to narrow down all the possible causes, because these have about as many permutations as a lottery. If you want to help them help you, then you need to give them some facts to work with. They are not Gods, nor are they magicians. They are humans that follow logical processes like most other people do.
- Get a proper diagnosis if you think you may have HIT
- Write a food diary to monitor your reactions
- If you are not feeling a lot better after 2-4 weeks on an elimination diet after diagnosis, find out if there is an additional problem, also with the aid of your meticulous food diary 😉
- If a dietician or doctor offers you their expensive product regime rather than focussing on dietary advice, think hard about their intentions
- Check if your dietician or medic of choice is registered. For medics in the UK check on the GMC register and for dieticians on the British Dietetic Association’s website or the equivalent in the country where you live
- Never, ever, ever assume. Always check first!
- Learn to listen to your body
- Don’t stop eating – eat regularly
- Don’t let stories on the web stress you out – they are other people’s and not yours. You don’t need to load yourself up with more than you already have on your plate!
- Don’t give up!