Were You Diagnosed With a Seafood Allergy as an Adult?

Last updated: June 2022

30 years ago, my husband and I were broke college students. And like most college students, we were trying to eat on a dime. That meant lots of spaghetti, ramen noodles, peanut butter sandwiches, soup, and tuna casserole. I wasn't the best cook back then and didn't have time to cook between classes and working.

Is this stress, or is this allergies?

After eating tuna casserole, I noticed I seemed to have a lot of stomach problems. But I chalked it up to stress! I was a full-time college student and worked full-time managing a record shop in the evenings. Yes, records. You may have heard of them. They are flat, black vinyl disks that you may have seen in a museum.

Who wouldn't be stressed with a full load of classes and a full-time job? One of my classmates had developed a bleeding ulcer from the stress, so I thought my stomach problems were just part of the college experience.

But one night, after eating tuna casserole, I started to throw up. I thought that was weird. I didn't think vomiting was a symptom of an ulcer, but what did I know? Maybe it was a stomach bug?

Paying a visit to my doctor

I was at the doctor's office for a checkup, and he was reviewing my chart. I was complaining about college, the record store, and stress. I asked if there was anything I could do about my stomach problems?

I told him I was sure it was an ulcer because my classmate had an ulcer from stress. So that must be what I had too, right? He asked about my symptoms, and I told him I was nauseous, but not all the time.

He asked if I ate anything that seemed to bother me? I told him that it seemed to happen when I ate tuna casserole. I told him that the last time I made it, I threw up and tossed the rest of the dish in the trash.

Considering food allergies

He said he wanted to explore my stomach problems and mentioned food allergies. The thought never crossed my mind. He did some testing and told me I was allergic to seafood.

Well, I didn't see that coming. I thought all those years of stomach issues were due to stress or the stomach flu!

I told my doctor that I had eaten tuna since I was a little kid. How could I be allergic to it now? He said you could develop a food allergy at any age.

Food allergies can develop at any age

According to the Mayo Clinic, although many food allergies are onset in childhood, they can develop at any time of life.1

Unfortunately, there's a lack of evidence to explain why food allergies can develop randomly. Still, some adults can develop an allergy to a food they typically eat without problems. Certain foods are known to cause allergies in adults, including fish shellfish, peanuts, and tree nuts.1

New food allergies

I wasn't too disappointed when I learned I was allergic to seafood. The only seafood I could manage to tolerate taste-wise was tuna fish. I was not too fond of any other seafood; apparently, it didn't like me back.

I was curious if I could develop a food allergy to any other type of food? Every time I get an upset stomach, I am worried that it could result from a new food allergy.

Have you developed a new food allergy as an adult? What was it, and how did you find out? Drop your comments below!

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