Background/aims: Food intolerance/malabsorption, particularly histamine intolerance (HIT), may cause nonspecific functional gastrointestinal and extraintestinal symptoms. We evaluated gastrointestinal and extraintestinal symptoms in patients with HIT.
Methods: In an analysis of outpatients' charts we identified 133 patients, who presented with recurring nonspecific functional gastrointestinal, extraintestinal symptoms, and a diamine oxidase value <10 U/mL, indicative of HIT. A standardized anonymous questionnaire with symptoms of HIT based on known symptoms and the 4 histamine receptors including gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, respiratory and skin complaints was developed, and sent by mail to the patients.
Results: In the 62 patients that completed the questionnaire bloating was the most common and most serious symptom. Other commonly reported gastrointestinal symptoms were postprandial fullness, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and constipation. The presence of 2 from a list of 24 symptoms resulted in 276 various symptom combinations. From calculated 2.024 possible combinations of 3 symptoms the patients with HIT presented 1.975 combinations.
Conclusions: The knowledge of this wide variability of symptoms and complex symptom combinations in patients with HIT may help to clinically recognize and diagnose HIT.
Keywords: Diamine oxidase; Gastrointestinal diseases; Gluten; Histamine; Irritable bowel syndrome.