Can Seasonal Allergies Affect Your Gut Health?

If you have seasonal allergies, you're probably familiar with all of the typical allergy symptoms. As soon as the weather starts to get warmer, many people with seasonal allergies begin to experience constant sneezing, runny nose, watery and itchy eyes, and even coughing, but what about an upset stomach (via Well+Good)? Believe it or not, seasonal allergies don't just affect your upper respiratory system — they can also affect your gut.

According to a 2007 study published in BMJ Postgraduate Medical Journal, gastrointestinal symptoms are more common among people with asthma and seasonal allergies. Research has also shown that there is a connection between the gut microbiome and allergy symptoms. "The digestive disorder is the lesser-known symptom of seasonal allergies," Dr. Madathupalayam Madhankumar, a surgical gastroenterologist, told Well+Good.

That's because histamines can cause digestive symptoms once they reach the gastrointestinal tract. Some of these symptoms include bloating, constipation, stomach pain, nausea, and diarrhea. As it turns out, seasonal allergies can also worsen gastrointestinal disorders. In fact, when allergens hyperactivate the immune system, they can exacerbate the symptoms of common digestive diseases, like leaky gut syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

How to prevent and manage digestive allergy symptoms

If you have seasonal allergies and are also experiencing gastrointestinal symptoms, there are a few things you can do to help manage and prevent these pesky symptoms. According to the Cleveland Clinic, one important way to help keep these symptoms at bay is to make some changes to your everyday diet and pay attention to what you eat.

That's because 70% of your immune system is located in your gut and your diet can have either a negative or positive impact on your gut microbiome. Avoiding foods that you are sensitive or intolerant to can help keep your gut flora healthy and improve your immune response to allergens. Adding certain foods to your diet can also improve your gut microbiome. Foods that contain probiotics, like yogurt and sauerkraut, can help restore your gut flora and settle your stomach.

Other at-home remedies include using an air filter, using nasal sprays, taking a shower and washing your clothes after being exposed to pollen, and taking immune-boosting vitamins and supplements. If none of these natural remedies work, however, you should talk to your doctor about allergy medication.