Posted in food,

Do I have an allergy or sensitivity to onions?

Onions: red, brown, whole, peeled, sliced, rings.

photo from Wikimedia commons


Onions do more than make me cry, but does that mean I have an allergy or just a sensitivity to them?……..The raw, uncooked or undercooked form of onions gives me severe stomach cramps and diarrhea.   Apparently,  it is the protein and sulfur present in onions that I react to.  In the raw form, the protein and sulfur are intact so bother my digestive system.  When onions are fried or roasted, the protein is denatured making them tolerable to my very sensitive gut.

A sensitivity to onions is much more common than a true allergy to onions.  If you have a strange feeling (light-headedness, headache, itchy throat) and hives after consuming onions, you may have a rare allergy.  This should be confirmed by a blood test.  Consuming only cooked onions may help, but avoiding them all together is probably best if you suspect or know you are allergic to onions.  Avoid all items in the onion family as well, including garlic, leeks, shallots etc.

Lucky for me, I do not experience any of the allergy-related symptoms mentioned above, just painful stomach cramps, indigestions, diarrhea, bloating etc.  If I consume only well-cooked onions and garlic I experience no discomfort at all.


7 thoughts on “Do I have an allergy or sensitivity to onions?

    1. yes it is, two minutes after posting, my son texted to say he has suspected he is sensitive to onions too, thought he was crazy because it is such a common food


  1. My daughter is on the Fodmap diet and onions and garlic are big nonos on that list. I’m wondering if she can tolerate a tiny amount of cooked onions. We ruled out Celiac which is what her older sister has but the Fodmap has a person eating as if they have Celiac pretty much. Food choice is very limited. Eating out is especially hard when you can’t eat onions or garlic so I’m going to share this with her just in case she wants to try to notice a difference with well cooked onion. Thanks.

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