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Cough, Post Nasal Drip, Gluten Intolerance, and Other Allergies

Updated on November 23, 2014
Elizabeth Hasselbeck On The View Lives Gluten Free
Elizabeth Hasselbeck On The View Lives Gluten Free
Billy Bob Thornton lives gluten free.
Billy Bob Thornton lives gluten free. | Source
Zooey Deschanel lives gluten free.
Zooey Deschanel lives gluten free. | Source

Looking for Answers

What’s wrong with me? My nose runs. Drainage slides down the back of my throat. I cough till my belly feels like it is turning inside out. I heave and heave and nothing comes up! What is wrong with me? If you have endured cyclical rounds of antibiotics, live on antihistamines, and go from pill to pill you need to take a look at this discussion.

My life was an endless round of coughing, drainage, heaving, wheezing, coughing, Kleenex, sneezing, sinus infection, antibiotics, nasal sprays, constipation, abdominal pain, bloating, respiratory infections, doctor visits, and on and on. My nose started running somewhere around my tenth birthday and never stopped.

As a child I missed more school than anyone could possibly need to miss and was known as the kid with the colds. They called it hay fever in those days and antihistamines were unheard of. I found tissues in the pocket of every garment I own. On bad days they were everywhere. I lived with doctor visits. I worked in healthcare for sixteen years. Not one time did I ever hear a comment that I might be suffering from food allergies. Not one time did I even think about food allergies.

As I look back it is amazing to me that I never noticed that most of my symptoms occurred after eating! Of course hindsight is twenty-twenty but as I look back over the past few years I can see the correlation to my food allergy, sensitivity, or whatever you choose to call it, to the foods I was eating!

My father was diagnosed with Celiac Disease (CD) thirty-five years ago. Not a lot was known about the disease during those days and they thought that mostly men had the disease. Eventually two of my nephews were also diagnosed with CD.

Jennifer Esposito is a popular actress who has been diagnosed with Celiac Disease with a mission.
Jennifer Esposito is a popular actress who has been diagnosed with Celiac Disease with a mission. | Source

Jennifer's Way

Jennifer Esposito is a celebrity with a cause. Her story is the same as others who have been through the long journey from illness to understanding. Her passion to create a Safe Zone for other people who suffer from Celiac has brought about her bakery that is now open in New York City called Jennifer's Way. Her web site is informational and certainly commercial but is a good resource for those looking for an easy read and help.

Symptoms for Celiac Disease

  • Anemia
  • Stomach upset
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Joint pain
  • Muscle cramps
  • Skin rash
  • Mouth sores
  • Dental and bone disorders (osteoporosis)
  • Tingling in hands and feet (neuropathy)

Celiac Disease

Celiac Disease is an autoimmune disease. It is genetic. There are no typical symptoms of CD. An individual may present with diarrhea, abdominal pain, bloating. “Sometimes people with celiac disease may have no gastrointestinal symptoms at all. Celiac disease symptoms can also mimic those of other conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome, gastric ulcers, Crohn's disease, parasite infections, anemia, skin disorders or a nervous condition” (Mayo Clinic Staff)

Malabsorption Related to Celiac Disease

Here are some indications of malabsorption that may be related to celiac disease:
• Weight loss
• Diarrhea
• Abdominal cramps, gas and bloating
• General weakness and fatigue
• Foul-smelling or grayish stools that may be fatty or oily
• Stunted growth (in children)
• Osteoporosis
• Anemia

Dermatitis Herpetiformis

This is an itchy, blistering skin disease that results from gluten intolerance. This rash may appear on the face, back, sacrum area, knees and buttocks. Dermatitis herpetiformis can cause significant intestinal damage identical to that of celiac disease. However, it may not produce noticeable digestive symptoms. This disease is treated with a gluten-free diet, in addition to medication to control the rash.

Autism and Diet

Research indicates that foods impact your health in many ways still to be discovered. Autism seems to be on the rise. Researchers are looking into the possibility that gluten impacts people diagnosed with autism.

Type I Allergies

Type I Allergies and the following symptoms may be connected to gluten in the diet.
Allergic rhinitis
Food allergy
Skin swelling
Atopic dermatitis
Allergic conjunctivitis

Chelsea Clinton, daughter of former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hilary Rodham Clinton has joined the ranks of those living gluten free. Her wedding cake was gluten free as well as the wedding food.
Chelsea Clinton, daughter of former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hilary Rodham Clinton has joined the ranks of those living gluten free. Her wedding cake was gluten free as well as the wedding food. | Source
Shannon Ford, Mrs America lives gluten free, has Celiac disease
Shannon Ford, Mrs America lives gluten free, has Celiac disease | Source


You can see why it is hard to get a true diagnosis of your illness. Most of the time the symptoms are treated and unless the patient is determined to find the root cause the investigation will stop there!

My tests do not indicate Celiac Disease or even gluten intolerance. What I have found to my personal satisfaction is that removing gluten from my diet changed my life. I am not advising people who are not intolerant to wheat gluten to embrace the gluten free lifestyle. It is expensive and time consuming. However, if you have Celiac there is hope.

But, here is the big news! I removed wheat products (mostly) from my diet as well as most dairy products. I have not been able to give up my cola drinks which would fall within the list of foods in the Type I Allergy list and my nose drips a little. I am so far able to live with it. I have not taken any allergy medication in 6 weeks! None! Nada! Not one pill! Not one spray! Nothing. You will understand my joy when I tell you that I spent around $100.00 monthly on over the counter meds, not to mention the antibiotics and other medications I regularly needed. The coughing incessantly is gone. Wheezing...gone! Constipation...gone! Post nasal drip...gone! Every one of these symptoms were debilitating. I am living in a new world for the first time in my life!


Since this article was first published I have completely given up cola drinks for more than two years. I am making slow changes to my lifestyle.

Most of the symptoms have been reduced to extremely tolerable levels. The great thing about it is that now that most of the gluten and dairy products are out of my system, I can add back different foods and know immediately which ones are really deadly to me and which ones are not.

I hope you find this information helpful. It changed my life!

*This hub is written for informational purposes only. It is in no way intended to replace medical advice. See your physician for treatment.

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Submit a Comment

  • profile image

    Vicki 4 years ago

    You can have anything that is gulten free. Some of the larger grocery stores carry gulten free pasta. There is also a rice based pasta. You should be able to have some types of flour other than wheat flour.Beans, lentils, fruits and vegetables are gulten free. Meats are gulten free in the original formTrying Googling celiac disease. You will not be able to eat most pre-made food. Amy's has a gulten free pizza. Ice cream if you read the labels is gulten free. We have a gulten free pastry shop.Your Doctor should have a list of gulten-free foods. Also go to, it has a drop down box for what Celica Disease is and possible a list of foods that you can eat.I have friends with Celiac disease. You will need to cook more or look for gulten-free foods in the grocery stores.You will be able to eat more than you think. I have severe Lactose intolerance and I eat just fine. I have to make sure no whey is in anything.You will probably eat more healthly foods than you used to. Good luck

  • profile image

    Ollie 4 years ago

    Hi Karina,What a coincidence! I'm just now emirkabng on a new blog devoted to everything Gluten-Free (ie. recipes, latest GF medical and scientific news, celiac, candidiasis, leaky gut syndrome etc.). I will be sharing my own struggles with candidiasis and leaky gut syndrome. I only recently becoming aware I am sensitive to all Gluten. I thought I only needed to give up wheat flour and sugar to manage my yeast and gut problems, especially since I don't have celiac disease. However, after removing all other GF flours (like oats, spelt and rye), I realized how much better I felt completely gluten-free. I theorize there are hundreds of thousands (if not millions)of people who don't know they are sensitive to gluten. And many who don't even know they have celiac disease. So stop on by my blog at! And I'll be sure to stop back here at as well! Thanks, Kim Bowling

  • profile image

    Abinash Sahoo 5 years ago

    Whoever is reading this I guarantee he will be benefitted. I had a long history of allergy symptoms in terms of skin itching and sun allergy. I had a nasal allergy which started around 5 years back when I moved to Mumbai for Job reason. Even if I was taking proper diet,practicing Yoga and Pranayam regularly my issue was not getting resolved. I would have a mild pain around my right eye which will start at around same time every day then it will be unbearable pain after 3 and 4 hours. I would have a hot forehead and I won’t be able to work beyond 7PM. I thought initially it is because of AC in my office because when I get outside my office the pain will reduce. And when I will have my lunch then also the pain will reduce. But the reason was non of these . I moved to Kolkata thinking that the Mumbai climate is not suitable for me. But it didn’t help me. It only deteriorated. I had water retention in my maxiliary sinus and this will come out of my right nostril every 2 to 3 days. I visited columbia asia hospital here. Doctor suggested CT scan. He told me that I have a deviated septum that is where the problem is and that has caused water retention in maxiliary sinus. He prescribed some antibiotics and i got much relief. But he told that I need to test that water which is coming out of my right nostril. Whenever you feel like you have blocked nose please don’t blow hard. Collect that water and give here in the lab for analysis . That could be CSF fluid. I googled and found out that If I had any accident in the past or some operation of brain then only there is a chance of CSF leakage. But I didn’t have any such history. So I didn’t revisit the Doctor because I had already spent Rs.6000 in expensive CT Scan. I didn’t want to spend anymore for that doctor. But my problem was not resolved. I was feeling like fever after some days with breathing issues for the first time. When I did a blood test I found that I had 16% of eosonophil count. And I had another shot of antibiotic by a local doctor. This time I visited Appollo hospital. There doctor again suggested for a lot of blood tests. I had a high immunoglobulin ige test(270mg) and abs. eosinophil count (11% reduced from 16%) and water in maxiliary sinus(Xray of Paranasal Sinus) which were abnormal. He confirmed me that I have allergy problem . He prescribed me allergy medicine for 6 weeks and referred to ENT surgeon. ENT doctor checked my CT Scan report done at Columbia Hospital. He suggested for FESS operation to correct the abnormality which I didn’t agree to. But soon after the allergy medicine is finished I have again all the symtoms like blocked nose and water coming out of right nostril and pain around my right eye. This time I thought beyond allopathy medicine. My father got a homeopath practitioner in my village. He heard of all my problems. He suggested for Nux Vomica 200 one single dose. I had it. I got a lot of relief. The pain which usually I had around my right eye reduced to a great extent. But after 2 to 3 weeks I had all the problems again. Then the homeopath told to take me another dose. I had it too. But again after 2 weeks I had similar problems and additionally I had seen blood in the morning from my right nostril for the first time this winter. Then I consulted the homeopath. But he almost surrendered. He had no idea :( just told me to visit some other ENT specialist. This time I consulted my father — He told me to visit Baba Ramdev’s clinic . I paid a visit there too but didn’t have faith that it will work in my case. I had an impression that ayurvedic medicines take long time to work. The doctor there listened to my problem and prescribed me laxmivilas Ras(2 tabs twice daily ),Sanjeevani Vati(2 tabs twice daily) and Chyavanprash. After having these medicines for 1 week I could see the result. My nose bleed was stopped, Hay fever was gone but I was having pain around my right eye still. Still I had faith on it . I completed the course for 1 whole month. Then for 2 days I stopped the medicine. I had again blocked nose and same problems. So I started it again . I would take steam inhalation and shadabindu tail also. After 2 weeks I reduced the pills to 1 each 2 times instead of 2 pills. Then also I didn’t have any problem. After 15days of taking like that again I stopped medicine for 2 days. Again the problem came back with nose bleed. So I started 1 pill each . But now I have stopped Sanjeevani Vati.. I am only taking laxmivilas Ras Vati 1 pill twice daily after food. Might be able to leave that too after few months… I am absolutely fine now :) I hope this will be helpful for every body who is suffering from similar problem.

  • Smireles profile image

    Sandra Mireles 5 years ago from Texas

    uplatestampin, I truly do not understand why some wheat/glutin products cause symptoms, but I have the same issue. I cannot eat 100% whole grain wheat bread but white bread which is basically nutritionally useless does not really cause symptoms. I recently had the doctor take blood for wheat glutin /celiac disease and it came back negative. In spite of this I do have a reaction to certain wheat products. It is trial and error. Check out LivingWithout Magazine online. They have lots of great information and (I think). Hope you feel better.

  • profile image

    uplatestampin 5 years ago

    I mention it all the time about my food allergy or sensitivity...intolerance...whatever.

    Here's proof again. I try soooo hard to avoid wheat and/or gluten...but today I bought some muffins for the kids...they looked so good that I had some too. Muffins and some milk..then all of a sudden when I was finished my sinuses were just turned on...coughing...gagging on mucus and ready to throw up.

    I know it's not the milk because normally I drink it every single day and don't have any problems...but I know it was the muffin.

    One thing that is odd though is that I can have pancakes made with bisquick (and eggs and milk) and not have any troubles, but the minute I try to eat bread or a bun or in this case...a muffin...all h3ll breaks loose with my sinuses.

    So I did a yahoo search about my symptoms and cross-matched it to the words gluten/wheat allergy..etc. and found this link. I am still trying to any tips or clues about why I cannot seem to be able to eat bread/bagels/buns...but somehow can have pancakes without any problems...any insight here or experience? Please share...thanks

  • Smireles profile image

    Sandra Mireles 6 years ago from Texas

    Frenchy, you make an interesting point. I do find that my symptoms differ and I have wondered why I feel ok eating different foods but with gluten in them. Must do more research. Thanks.

  • profile image

    Frenchy 6 years ago

    This sounds an awful lot like a wheat allergy, especially the nasal and throat symptoms. Wheat allergies can often cause similar gastrointestinal problems to Celiac, but the two have different causes. When you're experimenting with an exclusion diet, it's easy to mistakenly assume the cause is gluten, because cutting out gluten usually means cutting out wheat. But many people with wheat allergies can still eat other grains containing gluten, like Rye and Barley. And why give those up if you don't have to?

  • profile image

    Mary Jur 6 years ago

    I had a persistent postnasal drip for the last two years. Have been living on daily antihistamines because any time I tried to do without would find myself swallowing every five seconds and blowing my nose constantly. Not pleasant. Went on an elimination diet and presto, symptoms disappeared in a week. When I put wheat back in my diet, they came back with a vengeance. Now I'm gluten-free again and symptoms are almost gone. I don't think that's a coincidence. Interesting that the gluten intolerance got worse over the years. Living without gluten is hard, but not as hard as having the constant allergic symptoms.

  • profile image

    Tracy 7 years ago

    Hi Smireles,

    I recently converted to a GF diet in an attempt to help with migraines that I have been getting since I was a teenager, and I feel like a new person! I was googling to find out whether symptoms like post nasal drip could be helped with a GF diet. My boyfriend has had really bad post nasal drip his whole life. He is constantly clearing his throat and blowing his nose. He has received allergy shots and taken all kinds of drugs, but nothing has helped. I'm trying to gather evidence to convince him that cutting out gluten could provide some relief! Thank you for sharing your story!

  • woowoochick profile image

    woowoochick 7 years ago from Johananesburg South Africa

    Hi Smireles

    I have started the elemination diet and it's not easy...Had to hunt down bread made with rice etc and am now paying double per loaf. Ironic that to be healthy costs more. One would think it would cost less as there is less *** going into the product! It remindes me of swimming costumes... a full bathing suit costs less than a mono-kini or a binkini! Less fabric, but higher cost... we live in a truly bizarre world... ah well, onwarad and upward I say!

  • Smireles profile image

    Sandra Mireles 7 years ago from Texas

    Thank you mazzastick and woowoochick for reading and commenting. I am looking forward to your update woowoochick and wish you the very best. Sandra

  • woowoochick profile image

    woowoochick 7 years ago from Johananesburg South Africa

    Wow Smireles, you have inspired me. I have had a post nasal drip for years now and thought it was my hayfever (no more continuous sneezing, thank the stars)that I was simply out-growing... then I looked through the list of intolerances associated with gluten sensitivity and I seem to have them all! From what I have always thought was merely IBS, to:

    • Obesity (CANNOT lose the overweight 10kgs, no matter what I do, and this includes going on Weight Watchers!)

    • Joint and muscle aches

    • Diarrhea and/or constipation

    • Gas, bloating, abdominal pain

    • Craving for wheat products

    • Allergies, asthma

    I am a really healthy eater, no take aways, no refined foods other than whole grain bread (see the mistake!), no red meat, plenty raw veggies, plenty fruit and about 3-4 litres of water a day... I also eat various cheeses and nuts, but after reading through this thread, I am going to start an eliemination diet and see where it takes me :)

    I will report my findings, so watch this space!

  • profile image

    mazzastick 7 years ago

    It seems like we should just eat fruits, vegetables, and water. It's like there are so many foods that cause allergic reactions in people. Plus the allergic reactions to particles in the air can be overwhelming. I finally bought a pack of handkerchiefs, because I was tired of seeing all the toilet paper in the trash can.

  • Smireles profile image

    Sandra Mireles 7 years ago from Texas

    Our food truly can be dangerous for some of us. Changing habits of a lifetime is not easy and my hat is off to anyone who makes the attempt. Thank you Lady Guinevere for your kind words. Blessings!

  • Lady Guinevere profile image

    Debra Allen 7 years ago from West By God

    There is another thing that we consume daily that is a factor in these too and it is a Milk Allergy and I wrote a hub on that and one for Baby Formula.

    Yes it is difficult to get all gluten or dairy out of ones system. Hugs to you on trying. I know from personal experience that it isn't easy.

  • Smireles profile image

    Sandra Mireles 7 years ago from Texas

    My father had Celiac and I understand the consequences. In spite of that it is not easy to maintain a gluten free lifestyle. And if you had a runny nose for 50 years you might be a bit more sympathetic. Blessings!

  • profile image

    Ginny 7 years ago

    The reason why it is important to know if you have celiac or not is...if you have celiac, you cannot ingest ANY gluten EVER....none!!!No "relapsing"...please, read about celiac....dabbling in gluten-free living is dangerous...You risk your life eating it, not just a runny nose.

  • Smireles profile image

    Sandra Mireles 7 years ago from Texas

    Thanks, TheAdmiral for your comments. I am checking out your links.

  • TheAdmiral profile image

    TheAdmiral 7 years ago from Manhattan, NY

    After reading your article, it seems as though there's a little bit of confusion about the difference between a gluten allergy, and gluten intolerance or celiac disease.

    Smireles has pretty much hit the nail on the head with correcting it and the typical treatment methods! If anyone is looking for a quick reference, I've been pinging off of these pages to help diagnose myself:

  • Smireles profile image

    Sandra Mireles 7 years ago from Texas

    There is no set time limit because you have to let the gluten completely get out of your system. You may start to feel better after a week but generally the doctor will ask you to be gluten free for 4-6 weeks when testing so I would use that as a time limit to be completely clean. After a week I was actually able feel the difference every day. Once I was clean I did not need my allergy medication for months.

    I find it difficult to live the gluten free lifestyle so I have relapsed and the effect on my body was immediate and even though I try to keep the gluten to one or two slices of bread a day it builds up in your system and is terrible. I have been trying to completely leave the gluten products alone but it is hard and I am taking allergy meds again.

    Stick to it if you can because you will find yourself having to clean out your system all over again and it is not pleasant.

  • profile image

    rel 7 years ago


    I am suffering from coughing, Post Nasal Drip, consistent cough, very itchy skin.

    Feel mucus in throat after eating anything and whole day

    As per blood test results i am Gluten Intolerance and Lactose Intolerance

    I was wondering, how many days it tool for you to be normal after removing diary and gluten products from your diet

  • Smireles profile image

    Sandra Mireles 8 years ago from Texas

    Lamme, I was totally shocked last fall when I made this discovery. After a lifetime of spending a fortune on sinus allergy meds I did not have ONE tablet for three months once I got the wheat gluten out of my system. It was truly amazing. I have a pharmacist friend who told me that one out of every four people suffer from gluten intolerance and do not know it!

  • Lamme profile image

    Lamme 8 years ago

    Oh my goodness, this is so amazing. You just listed a string of ailments I've been suffering with. With all the meds I'm on the doctors still never seem to deal with the real issue ... just treat the symptoms. I'm bookmarking this and doing some more research. Thanks so much for such an informative hub.

  • Smireles profile image

    Sandra Mireles 8 years ago from Texas

    There is no medical treatment for Celiac Disease. The treatment is a gluten free diet. Since I wrote this article I added these foods back to my diet and the symptoms returned. Now I have elimenated gluten from my diet again. Why should I burden the health care system getting confirmation of a disease for which I already know the treatment. These tests are expensive and I have no insurance since I left my job last year. Thank you for your comments...I do understand your concern.

  • profile image

    jane 8 years ago

    I don't get it - if you think you have celiac then go get tested! Other things to consider - have you changed jobs - were you in a moldy environment and now you are not? Are you in a different season - higher allergy season previously and at the time of this writing not (6 weeks is quite a bit of time and much can happen then). Point being if you THINK you have celiac disease, my understanding is that eating any of those foods can eventually lead to stomach cancer and all kinds of problems - not today but down the GET CHECKED for sure!

  • Smireles profile image

    Sandra Mireles 8 years ago from Texas

    You are right about that! hahaha! I could never dust every day either!

  • habee profile image

    Holle Abee 8 years ago from Georgia

    I went through scads of allergy testing and found that I was allergic to only one thing - dust mites! I guess I'll just have to learn to live with it. I am not gonna dust every day! lol

  • GiftedGrandma profile image

    GiftedGrandma 8 years ago from USA

    This is very interesting and informative. Thank you.

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 8 years ago from United States

    Very interesting hub. My brother has celiac disease. I didn't know it could affect so many parts of the body.


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