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Can tonsil or epiglottis swelling be only allergy symptom?


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Old 04-13-2014, 07:16 PM   #1
GatoLoco
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Unhappy Can tonsil or epiglottis swelling be only allergy symptom?

Sorry for the long post, but if anybody takes the time to read through this and has any suggestions for me I will be greatly appreciative! A lot has happened without any resolution so I wanted to make sure I covered it all.

Does anybody know if a swollen tonsil (only one side) or epiglottis can be a symptom of food allergy? Nobody can seem to figure out my issue and it is driving me crazy.

I'm a 36 year old male and this problem just began about 2 years ago and seems to be getting progressively worse.

Many times, but not always, about 15-20 minutes after I start eating I will develop a sensation of something swollen in the right side of my throat on the right side where the jaw meets the neck (like if you run your hand from the joint of your jaw diagonally down to your actual throat). This is always on the right side, not once on the left. It feels like something is swollen and making it hard for me to breathe. This feeling lasts for 3-4 hours after eating and eventually goes away. While it is happening I feel like in order to make things better I need to lean my head back so I can breathe easier. This is very scary and annoying and during this time I really can't think about anything else.

I have a slight sensation of this problem all the time, but it is much worse after eating certain things. I find that the longer I go without eating at all the better I feel.

Other info:
  • I never have any other "usual" symptoms of food allergy such as hives.
  • I can't really see if my tonsil is swollen when this is happening but I think it may be below the area I can see anyways. I can see my epiglottis sticking up but I'm not sure if that is just how it normally looks.
  • I have had skin and intradermal testing several times and no foods ever show up.
  • I have had IgE blood testing and it did show slightly high for Gluten (0.42), Rye Grains (0.54), Wheat Grains (0.66), and Barley Grains (0.46). I have heard conflicting opinions from several different doctors as to whether or not these levels are significant.
  • I have been avoiding gluten and wheat for several months but I do notice that the problem can occur still when I eat some things. I have not determined exactly what it is that might be triggering it.
  • When this happens my right ear usually feels full as if I need to pop it but it is hard to pop and immediately becomes full again.

I have been to numerous allergists, ENT, and GI doctors and still can't seem to find a solution. I have tried the following medications:
  • Zyrtec/D
  • Allegra/D
  • Prednisone
  • Prednisolone
  • Prilosec
  • Nexium high dose
  • Muscinex/D
  • Sudafed
  • Multiple courses of antibiotics (Z-Pack, Keflex, etc.)
  • Flonase spray
  • Nasonex spray

I have had the following tests:
  • Skin scratch and intradermal allergy testing (4 times in 2 years) (no food allergies)
  • Food patch allergy testing (negative on all)
  • IgE blood allergy testing (2 times in 2 years) (showed some high for wheat as described above)
  • EGD scope with biopsies (showed high eosinophil count indicative of EoE but I do not usually have any issues actually swallowing)
  • Upper GI Barium study (fine)
  • Swallowing study with speech pathologist (fine)
  • Nasal endoscopy and laryngoscopy (numerous times)

I have had the following procedures:
  • 1/2010 - I went to the hospital with a periotonsilar abscess on the right side. It took the doctors awhile to determine that this was the actual cause of my high fever and I was in the hospital several days. It was surgically drained. I had no problems for two years afterwards until the current issues developed.
  • 9/2011 (4 months before issue started) I had all of my wisdom teeth removed surgically as they were impacted.
  • 11/2012 - I had a slightly swollen lymph node surgically removed from this same area where I always feel the swelling. The thinking was that maybe the node was swollen from a previous illness and was pushing on my throat causing the sensation. Node was sent off and came back as normal. No improvement after removal.

I am left in a constant struggle trying to determine if this is allergy related or somehow acid reflux related. There are certain things I can eat constantly that I know never cause the issue. For instance I can drink Ensure all day and not have the issue. Since I still seem to have it happen when I am avoiding wheat I'm not sure if it is an allergy or if it is some type of reflux that just happens to be triggered by certain foods (making it similar to an allergy). I have never had any allergies my whole life.

One ENT doctor has said he can remove my tonsils if I want but of course he can't guarantee it will fix anything since he doesn't see any issues. I know this is a hard surgery and long recovery as an adult so I'd hate to go through it just to have the same issue continue (and possibly risk new issues starting from the surgery).

Does this sound familiar to anybody? Could there be some sort of delayed issue from me having the periotonsilar abscess two years before this problem started? Are those IgE test results considered to be enough to be an allergy? I'd have my tonsils out in a second if it meant two weeks of pain and misery would fix this problem that has been ruining my life for two years.

Thank you so much if you have read this far. I appreciate any input!

Last edited by GatoLoco; 04-13-2014 at 07:32 PM.

 
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Old 04-13-2014, 07:45 PM   #2
Titchou
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Re: Can tonsil or epiglottis swelling be only allergy symptom?

What are the offending foods?

 
Old 04-13-2014, 08:07 PM   #3
GatoLoco
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Re: Can tonsil or epiglottis swelling be only allergy symptom?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Titchou View Post
What are the offending foods?
I am not sure exactly. On one hand it seems that certain items that contain wheat do cause the issue, but others don't. And even when I am strictly avoiding wheat altogether I still have the problem occasionally.

For instance, I can eat Frosted Mini Wheats cereal and not have much of an issue and that is essentially pure wheat. I seem to be able to eat a sandwich at McDonald's and not have much of an issue. But just tonight I thought I'd try and see how a regular taco from Taco Bell was (as Taco Bell lists that their tacos are NOT gluten-free). I had 3 regular tacos about 3 hours ago and started having the swelling feeling on the right side of my throat right after I finished eating and it is still going on right now.

A few weeks ago I went off the gluten-free diet completely and was eating regular whole wheat bread, breakfast sandwiches with wheat, cookies, etc. and had no issues. Then one day I got a veggie patty sandwich on "honey oat" bread from Subway and had the same issues as I am having right now from the taco.

The issue is ALWAYS on the right side only. Not one instance of it ever feeling swollen on the left side which is what is very odd to me as I would think an allergy would affect both sides equally. That's what always leads me back to maybe somehow my right tonsil is damaged from the periotonsilar abscess four years ago and maybe this problem could be fixed by just having the tonsils removed.

 
Old 04-14-2014, 05:50 AM   #4
Titchou
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Re: Can tonsil or epiglottis swelling be only allergy symptom?

Could be. I'd certainly have them out anyway.

 
Old 04-14-2014, 04:24 PM   #5
GatoLoco
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Re: Can tonsil or epiglottis swelling be only allergy symptom?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Titchou View Post
Could be. I'd certainly have them out anyway.
Not sure if having them out just to have them out is a good idea though. As of right now the doctor doesn't really see any issues with the tonsils from his examination. I'd hate to have them out and deal with the bad recovery and possible risks for no reason.

 
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allergies, food, ige, reflux, tonsils



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