Why can't I find info on oatmeal allergies?

for 30+ years I was an oat-eating machine. Oatmeal, oat-based cereals, granola bars, cookies, oatmeal stout beer…you name it. Now for the last couple years I have become an unhappy oat-detector. Think you want to mix some oat flour in that bread? I’ll detect it. You mean there’s not just corn/wheat/rice in that breakfast cereal? Yeah…I figured it out.


diarrhea, cramping, bloody tissue combined with what feels like lower abdominal retching

So I get online to try & confirm my…evil…abdominal symptoms are indeed caused by an oat allergy. Seem to be, but everything I see says if you have a problem with oats, then other grains, especially wheat, are also problematic. But not in my case. In fact, nothing else bothers me. But ram a fistful of Cheerios down my throat at 7 a.m. and you’d best just not plan on seeing me at my desk between 2:00 - 4:00.

Question: what is in oats that I’m likely to be reacting to that ISN’T in wheat/rice/barley/maize?

Firstly, I am not a doctor. However, as someone who suffers from Crohn’s disease and who was mistakenly diagnosed with a series of other gastrointestinal diseases I have an interest in and reasonable knowledge of gastrointestinal disorders.

Firstly, the symptoms you describe are not indicative of an allergy. They may suggest an intolerance (NOT the same as an allergy) of some kind, except for bleeding. Any form of gastrointestinal bleeding is cause for concern. While it is not necessarily so GI bleeding may indicate a number of illnesses, from inflammatory bowel disease to colon cancer (don’t panic, this is the least likely cause but should be taken seriously). It is imperative you see a doctor and possibly get a colonoscopy. (I have found that doctors tend to treat those complaining of GI pain as hypochondriacs. If this happens to you, or you are diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome after little thought, then get as many second opinions as neccesary to get a decent diagnosis). As for the oats thing, this seems somewhat unusual. I have never heard of anyone with an intolerance only to oats. Coeliac disease is caused by eating gluten and as oats tend to have less gluten than most other grains, and indeed are nowadays thought to be edible by Coeliacs, you are highly unlikely to be suffering from CD. Having said that, intolerances of the generic sort can be caused by all foods, so no matter how rare this is, you may indeed have an oats intolerance.

To repeat: See a doctor. You will only be able to get a conclusive diagnosis after a number of tests and, no matter how unlikely, it is important to rule out the possibility of colon cancer.

I know from experience that food allergies CAN result in Inigo’s symptoms. It’s not the most common manifestation, but it’s a possible one. (Although I, too, recommend consultation with a doctor in real life)

Most on-line sources assume that if you have a problem with grains you have celiac disease/celiac sprue/whatever else they’re calling it these days. That is NOT an allergy. It’s a reaction to gluten, which is found in many grains.

Regardless, yes, it IS possible to have a genuine allergy to one grain and not others.

Even if it’s “only” an intolerance, when you’re talking about bloody diarrhea that’s merely splitting hairs.

Bottom line - if eating oats is a Bad Thing for you don’t eat oats. Easier said than done, I know, they’re always sneaking trace amounts of this, that, or the other into various common foods. (Why do they put corn in almost everything these days?)

Wrong. Perhaps dangerously wrong. Gastrointestinal symptoms are prevalent in many kinds of food allergies. They just tend to be mediated by a different set of antibodies than the IgE antibodies that create “classic” allergy symptoms.

I’m most familiar with dairy allergies so check out this page for details.

Now, I do agree that seeing a doctor is the best course. An allergist can do a comprehensive range of testing for food allergies and a gastroenterologist can check for the other diseases FnB mentioned.