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Usually, I research the issue I am having before I ask more questions.  This time I'm just too overwhelmed to do so.  Please forgive me for the repetition that will surely occur in this post.



My immune system has been through the ringer in the past month.  A UTI that didn't clear with cipro, Bactrim for the same UTI, an accidental glutening, serum sickness reaction to the Bactrim (the day after the glutening) combined with high levels of environmental allergic reactions (just the usual itchy nose and eyes, sneezing).  My allergist said that the serum sickness reaction could take up to 2-4 weeks to dissipate.  Well, this coming Friday makes it 4 weeks.  The lymph nodes have just returned to normal- they were swollen along the side of my neck.  I think my energy is coming back to normal, but it's hard to tell because I caught my husband's cold (really?!?) and it still hasn't run its course.


The thing that's sticking is a slightly swollen tongue- enough to hurt because it's pushing past the boundaries of my teeth and my tongue has a scalloped edge.  It was part of the serum sickness reaction, but now it comes and goes as it pleases and for the past few weeks I've been suspecting other food intolerances/allergies.  I've limited my diet mostly by cutting out raw fruits and veggies as well as nuts.  If I stick to these items, the swelling seems to go down. I've been swollen-tongue-free for a couple of days and this morning I had a lara bar with cashews in it.  (Please God no, not the lara bars!) A few hours later- bam! swollen tongue and cheeks.  I feel normal in every other way.


My freak out is being perpetuated by the fact that I leave the country for 6 weeks at the end of June.


This leads me to so, so, so many questions for you all:

  • Would my immune system melt down trigger the development of other food intolerances?
  • Do any others out there experience tongue swelling with food intolerance?
  • From what I've read, if this IS happening, it's a delayed reaction, which would seem to indicate an intolerance and not an allergy.  Should I be worried about anaphylaxis?  (BTW- I'm petrified of anaphylaxis.)
  • Do I have time to do an elimination diet?  How should I proceed?
  • Because I've limited my diet, I eat very few things now.  I've heard chatter about a 4 day rotation, but need advice on how to go about that.
  • Is it possible that it's just taking me longer to recover from the SSR as it has taken me longer to recover from just about every other illness I've encountered this year (stomach bug 3Xs as long, aforementioned UTI- case in point)?

I have another appointment with my allergist, who was adamant that this was not a food allergy, just in case the symptoms don't go away.  But that is the week I leave town.  I'm scared to eat.  I'm scared to stick to the foods I know are safe because that might cause me to become intolerant (not really sure how that works). I'm scared about eating something "new" and swelling like Violet Beauregarde after she downed Wonka's untested gum. :(  Your advice is much appreciated.





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I'm pretty tired, but I can't go to sleep until I post a response.  Please try to do some research on Cipro (quinolones) and Bactrim.  I have experienced neuropathies after taking Cipro in the hospital post gallbladder surgery for over six months (and I think I got off lightly).  The side effects of these two drugs are severe and many of the symptoms you stated seemed to match.   Here's  a link to one site (and it's a legit government site), but there are several.



WARNINGS: All quinolones cause erosion of cartilage in weight-bearing joints. They may cause convulsions, increases intracranial pressure, toxic psychosis, CNS stimulation (i.e.nervousness, lightheadedness, confusion, hallucinations).Should not be used in anyone with seizure disorders, or cerebral arteriosclerosis. There have been deaths due to anaphylactic shock, and cardiovascular collapse. Also occurring are tingling, itching, facial swelling, and difficult breathing. DISCONTINUE at the first sign of a rash or any hypersensitivity. Pseudomembranous colitis has been reported from nearly all antibacterial agents (mild to life-threatening), and anyone taking Cipro having diarrhea should immediately check with his prescribing physician. Antibacterial drugs may kill off normal intestinal flora, resulting in an overgrowth of Clostridia. It produces a toxin that is a primary cause of "antibiotic-associated- colitis". Achilles and other tendon ruptures requiring surgical repair, resulting in prolonged disability can occur from quinolone use. Discontinue Cipro, and consult your physician, if you experience pain, inflammation, or tendon rupture.



The above is just a portion of the drug warning label that the FDA requires Bayer to insert in the box.  Other people have experienced much worse side effects (you can find them on the internet.)


I urge you to do research on these two drugs as they may be the cause of your symptoms and not food allergies/ intolerances, etc.    I will never take these drugs again as there are other safer choices!  


Finally, I do advocate four day rotational diet plans for allergies(and further prevention of), celiac disease or anything related to healing the immune system.  It's super simple.   There are plenty of examples on the internet.  And don't forget to add new foods there are lots of lovely choices!  Most people get stuck in rut eating the same 20 foods.


Good luck!


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As I have a major problem with antibiotics of any kind,  I share your frustration.


I have a few thoughts,IMHO and  FWIW.


(1)To balance your system after rounds of antibiotics, you need probiotics. . 


(2) To avoid future UTIs, you can drink cranberry juice daily and a lot of water. Hydration is important.My Mom had them often and I suggested she do this and (knock wood) she's been UTI-free.


(3) I never experienced tongue swelling as a result of food intolerances, but every body is different and who knows why it has happened.

Lara bars do not have much in them except dates and nuts. Perhaps they just do not agree with you right now.


I do not know where the concept of "eating too much of one food can cause an intolerance" came from, but it is not based on science at all.


I flood my system with fresh corn every summer since that's the only time we have it and I LOVE it and I have never become "intolerant" of it.

if you feel fine eating chicken, rice and green beans, then eat it.


Eat your "safe foods"!!


You cannot be afraid to eat hon---you'll just be undernourished!



(4) When I was in the state you describe (before DX) and I felt like one giant allergic reaction (but the allergy tests were negative)

I did the failsafe diet for a month and I felt wonderful. Plain food, free of the top 8 allergens, preservatives, etc. and it will decrease

the inflammation in your system. (fingers crossed)


Obviously, do NOT eat any gluten grains (as those are included on the menu) but follow the suggestions for "safe foods" ...and in 2 weeks, you should feel better. If not, then food intolerances may not be your problem at all.


Good luck. I hope you feel better soon, Let us know how you make out.


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Thank you cycling lady and Irish Heart for your feedback!

What I have taken away from them in general is to have more patience.    


Cycling Lady- I didn't seem to be affected at all by the Cipro, it was really the Bactrim that did me in.  Unfortunately, I confused the first symptoms of something going wrong with a glutening, so I took 3 doses of the drug after I really should have stopped.  Upon the first night of researching the adverse affects, it's apparent that I got off lucky as well.  Many people who continued to take the drug are no longer with us- yikes.  Believe me, I have had multiple doctor's visits- two to the emergency room- since this occurred and I'm not taking it lightly.  I guess I'm just at my rope's end since it has been so long.


IH- I will continue to eat and I thank you for your encouragement. I'll let you know how it all pans out.  Best case scenario, this is just the effects if the Bactrim hanging on a bit longer than in the typical person and I just need to wait it out.  Fingers crossed!


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Yeah, I am not a big fan of Bactrim or cipro (always have bad side effects from them) but they are necessary "evils" at times, when warranted.

but I will say that high dosing the probtioics for a few days ( and I mean high--like 5 doses of multi-strain ) I righted the ship, so to speak.


I do hope you feel better soon. I know how "yucky" this can be.


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I have had mysterious swollen tongue.  It does seem connected to foods I am intolerant of.  I think I know now, that gluten had been causing my whole body to swell, so a little swelling here or there doesn't alarm me too much.  I have been tested for true allergies, but do not have them.  I do try to figure out a cause when I feel my tongue swollen.  The four day rotation diet helps in determining what I ate.


About the rotational diet.  I rotate families of foods.  For example one supper I choose from squash, sweet potato, zucchini, carrots, celery, and fennel bulb for vegetables. I would eat the same meat/vegetable combo for lunch the next day.  At supper, that day, I would have legume or cabbage family.  I rotate nut flours, meats, vegetables, fruits, and oils.  I did find a lot of information about setting it up on the internet.  My daughter helped me to make a month long rotation plan, so I don't have to think about what is for dinner that night each night.  I just check the chart and make it. 


A little sample:


Protein food families:  Eggs, beef, fish buffalo, lamb, Elk, chicken, bison, duck

Vegetable: Orange vegetables, legumes, cabbage/broccoli, Beet family

nut (Grain alternative) Macademia, hazelnut, pumpkin, coconut

oil  Olive, coconut ( I am down to these two) Butter if you tolerate dairy

Fruit:  banana, avocado, strawberries, cherries, raspberries


A rotational diet helped clear my mind.  It took 4 days.  I had been doing many other things, so I don't know what it alone would have done.




I hope you are feeling better soon.




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Hi Diana,

Thanks for all the rotation info.  It sounds like it helps you to pinpoint the foods that bother you.  How long did it take to weed things out? When your tongue does swell, how long does it last?  Do you also get swollen cheeks and lips?  All I can see is the tongue scalloping.  I can't see the lips or cheeks as visibly puffy, but I can feel that they are.


If this is due to a food, I ate it yesterday late morning and the swelling is still there.


Irish Heart- I take probiotics regularly and double my dosage when I was on the antibiotics.  That worked so well that I now double them on some days!  It really rights my ship- for sure!!


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Hi Diana,

Thanks for all the rotation info.  It sounds like it helps you to pinpoint the foods that bother you.  How long did it take to weed things out? When your tongue does swell, how long does it last?  Do you also get swollen cheeks and lips?  All I can see is the tongue scalloping.  I can't see the lips or cheeks as visibly puffy, but I can feel that they are.


If this is due to a food, I ate it yesterday late morning and the swelling is still there.


I would have to say that I only notice the swelling the next day.  My cheeks and lips do swell also.  Yeah, I can't usually see it, but I bite my cheeks, crowd the tongue, and am uncomfortable.  I began my rotational diet several  months back and I am still weeding.  I try foods more than once before I remove them.  The symptoms are rather hard to see, and sometimes it  takes a while to be fully convinced they are there.  They seem to become clearer as the rotational diet continues.  The contrast between having symptoms, and not having becomes easier to notice.


I try add new foods, that I have never eaten before, as often as I can.  I know my body doesn't have antibodies to them, because I have never had them.


Sorry, I didn't get back I just realized I need to keep going back through incase someone does want more information.  You can always send a message if you don't get all of the information you want.




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