What is a Soy Allergy?

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Soy allergies are one of the most common allergies in the U.S. Soy allergies occur when your body has an immune system reaction to soy or soybean products. Soy can be a tricky allergy to manage because soy is in many products, either as a standalone ingredient or mixed in with other food. It is important to see a Las Vegas allergist if you think you have a soy allergy so that your symptoms can be properly managed.

What are the symptoms of soy allergies?
An allergic reaction to soy and soy products can happen nearly instantaneously or over the course of a few hours. Either way, the symptoms will include the following:

  • Hives
  • Itching
  • Tingling
  • Wheezing
  • Facial swelling
  • Stomach pain and GI distress
  • Skin redness

Sometimes, a more severe reaction can cause anaphylaxis, a serious medical problem requiring immediate attention. Anaphylaxis, or anaphylactic shock, produces symptoms, including difficulty breathing, increased heart rate, drop in blood pressure, shock, lightheadedness, and dizziness. Some people may faint if they’re experiencing anaphylaxis. Given the severity of anaphylaxis, call 911 if you or if someone you know has symptoms of an anaphylactic reaction.

What happens when the body reacts to soy?

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Soy allergies occur when your body perceives soy products as dangerous substances. Anytime you are exposed to soy, your immune system will respond by trying to rid your body of the soy as a Las Vegas allergist can explain. As part of its defense mechanism, the immune system produces histamines, chemicals responsible for allergy symptoms.

Are there risk factors for soy allergies?
As with other kinds of allergies, some risk factors may increase your chance of developing soy allergies, including a family history of allergies. If you have a family member who is allergic to soy and you think that you might be too, it’s time to see a Las Vegas allergist for an accurate diagnosis and treatment. Younger people have a greater tendency to develop soy allergies, but soy allergies can also develop in adulthood. If you have other food allergies, such as to milk, wheat, and beans, you are also more likely to have an allergy to soy products.

How are soy allergies diagnosed?
If you think that you have the symptoms associated with a soy allergy, you can contact our office to make an appointment for allergy testing. An allergy test can be administered in several ways. When you arrive for your allergy appointment, the doctor will explain the different kinds of allergy tests available and help you decide which one is right for you.

A skin prick test is one of the most common allergy testing methods. For this test, your doctor will make small pricks in your skin and place tiny amounts of the suspected allergen on the skin. Several different potential allergens may be placed on the skin to see what kind of reaction, if any, occurs. The doctor will generally let the substance sit on the skin for about 15 minutes. If a reaction occurs, you most likely have a soy allergy. Another option for allergy testing is a blood test. A blood test is often used in instances where an allergist does not think it’s safe to perform other kinds of tests based on the severity of your previous reactions.

How to Prevent Soy Allergies
If you have soy allergies, you may need to be much more cautious than simply avoiding soy sauce and tofu when dining out. Soy is included in many products, including those you might not even think would have soy. People with soy allergies must read the labels of the products they intend to consume. Soy can be a hidden ingredient, so it’s worth the extra time to read labels to determine if the food is safe to eat. Similarly, if you are in a restaurant, you should ask the waitperson if there is soy in the food you want to order.

Sometimes, you may be allergic to soy, but you can still tolerate similar products. Soy oil and lecithin are two products that under certain circumstances may be okay for people with soy allergies to consume. Soy oil is added to several products, as is lecithin, commonly found in peanut butter, margarine, and some chocolate. However, specific kinds of soy oil may not be harmless for allergy sufferers, including extruded, expelled, and cold-pressed soy oil. It can take an experienced doctor to help you determine which foods are safe for you to eat. When in doubt, get in touch with our office for assistance with symptom management.

What food items contain soy?
Soy is found in many everyday food items. Soy-based flour, cheese, ice cream, milk, yogurt, and soy nuts are key offenders for soy allergy sufferers. People with soy allergies may react to soybeans, miso, shoyu, tamari, tofu, teriyaki sauce, tempeh, and some vegetable proteins. While this list includes the most common sources of soy, it can also appear in vegetable gum, vegetable starch, vegetable broth, and various artificial and natural flavorings. Many Asian foods also contain soy.

What are some hidden sources of soy?
Soy can appear in unexpected places, including baked goods, canned soup and broth, cookies, cereal, crackers, processed meats, protein bars, and some kinds of peanut butter.

Can you outgrow a soy allergy?

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Soy allergies can appear in people of all ages but are most common in children. If children have a soy allergy, they may outgrow it by age 10. However, some people never outgrow their allergy and have it for life. If you are unsure whether you’ve outgrown your allergy, an allergist can perform tests to determine if it’s safe for you to consume soy and related products.
Can you eat at restaurants with a soy allergy?

Even if you have a soy allergy, eating out at your favorite restaurants is possible but you have to be very careful. When you eat at a restaurant, you will want to take some extra precautions to ensure you are not exposed to soy. Always tell the waiter or waitress if you have a food allergy so that they can help you avoid the foods you are allergic to and avoid exposure. If your allergy is severe enough to warrant a shot of epinephrine, be sure to bring that medication with you in case you are accidentally exposed to soy and need a shot of epinephrine to prevent a more serious allergic reaction. If you are dining with friends and family, make sure to let them know of your allergies.

If you’re ready to get relief from soy allergies, let us know! You can make an appointment at Tottori Allergy and Asthma by calling (702) 240-4233 or by scheduling an appointment online.

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Soy Allergy