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Pork Sensitivity | Signs & Symptoms

Sian Baker

Medically reviewed by Sian Baker, Dip ION mBANT mCNHC
on April 01, 2021. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Check My Body Health blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.

Pork sensitivity can be due to a food intolerance or allergy to pork, which is a type of meat that comes from pigs. Depending on whether the reaction is due to intolerance or allergy, people with pork sensitivity may experience symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhoea, and nausea after consuming pork or products that contain pork. An allergic reaction to pork can be severe and lead to anaphylaxis, which is a life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical attention.

The symptoms of pork sensitivity can vary in severity and duration and may be caused by an immune system reaction to proteins found in pork. Pork sensitivity is distinct from other forms of food intolerance or allergies, such as lactose intolerance or peanut allergy, and requires a different treatment approach.

If you suspect that you have pork sensitivity, it is important to seek medical advice. A healthcare professional can help determine the cause of your symptoms and recommend appropriate treatment, which may include avoiding pork and other products that contain pork, and if it is deemed to be caused by an allergy to pork antihistamines or other medications may be recommended to relieve symptoms. In severe cases, an allergist may recommend carrying an epinephrine auto-injector for emergency treatment of anaphylaxis.

What are the common symptoms of Pork Sensitivity?

Symptoms of pork sensitivity are different depending on whether it is due to intolerance or allergy:

Intolerance may lead to:

Gastrointestinal symptoms: Abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhoea, and nausea. 

Allergy may lead to:

Skin reactions: Hives, itching, and redness of the skin can occur in some individuals with pork allergy.

Respiratory symptoms: Sneezing, runny nose, and difficulty breathing can occur in individuals with pork allergy.

Anaphylaxis: In severe cases, pork allergy can lead to anaphylaxis, which is a life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical attention.

Symptoms of pork sensitivity can occur within minutes to several hours after consuming pork or products that contain pork, and also depend on whether the reaction is caused by allergy or intolerance. The severity of symptoms can vary from person to person and may be different with each exposure to pork.

If you suspect that you have pork sensitivity, it is important to seek medical advice. A healthcare professional can help determine the cause of your symptoms and recommend appropriate treatment, which may include avoiding pork and other products that contain pork, and if it is deemed to be caused by an allergy to pork antihistamines or other medications may be recommended to relieve symptoms. In severe cases, an allergist may recommend carrying an epinephrine auto-injector for emergency treatment of anaphylaxis.

How do you test For Pork Sensitivity

There are several tests that can be used to diagnose pork allergy, including:

Skin prick test: In this test, a small amount of pork extract is placed on the skin, and a small prick is made in the skin to allow the extract to enter. The skin is then monitored for any signs of an allergic reaction, such as redness, itching, or swelling.

Blood test: A blood test can measure the levels of specific antibodies (IgE) in the blood that are produced in response to an allergy to pork. This test can be used to diagnose pork sensitivity, but may not be as sensitive as a skin prick test.

Elimination diet: In this test, pork and other foods that may be causing symptoms are removed from the diet, and then reintroduced one at a time to determine if pork is the cause of symptoms.

Oral food challenge: In this test, the individual is given a small amount of pork to eat, and their reaction is monitored for any signs of an allergic reaction. This test is considered the most reliable test for diagnosing pork sensitivity, but it is also the most risky and MUST only be performed with medical supervision as it can trigger a severe reaction.

How Long Can A Pork Sensitivity Last?

A pork allergy can last a lifetime, but in some cases, it may resolve over time. The duration of the sensitivity can vary from person to person and depends on factors such as the severity of the reaction and the individual’s immune system. If you have a pork sensitivity, it’s best to avoid pork and to seek medical advice for proper management and treatment.

What foods should I avoid if i have a pork sensitivity

If you have a pork allergy, you should avoid all foods that contain pork, as even small amounts can cause a reaction, these items include:

Fresh pork, such as chops, roast, and ham

Processed pork products, such as bacon, sausages, hot dogs, and salami

Pork-based ingredients, such as lard, gelatin, and rennet

It’s important to carefully read food labels, as pork may be hidden in some processed foods, such as soups, broths, sauces, and seasonings. You may also want to check with restaurants and food manufacturers to ensure that their products do not contain pork or any pork-based ingredients.

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