Can chocolate cause nasal congestion?

Fact Checked

The individual might not expect to end up with nasal congestion after consuming chocolate, but if he/she is allergic to one or more of the ingredients in chocolate, he/she will surely experience this symptom. Always bear in mind that nasal congestion occurs when the tissues in the sinuses become inflamed, irritated and swollen. In most cases of food allergies, this symptom is usually present that requires proper assessment by a doctor so that a clinical diagnosis can be given.

What is present in chocolate?

Chocolate is chiefly produced from ground cacao or cocoa beans, sugar, cocoa butter and flavoring. Take note that chocolate products also include a variety of highly allergenic components such as tree nuts, milk, wheat and peanuts.

Nasal-congestion
Due to the blockage created by the congestion, the individual might also develop runny nose, facial tenderness, dripping of mucus down the back of the throat, headache as well as pain in the upper teeth, eyes, cheek bones and forehead.

If an individual has a known food allergy to any of these common food allergens, he/she must avoid eating chocolate. Remember that food manufacturers are required by law to indicate an allergy warning on chocolate products. An allergy to cacao beans is considered uncommon but can occur in some individuals. Until the individual has seen a doctor, he/she must avoid eating any chocolate products or foods that might contain chocolate in order to prevent nasal congestion and other food allergy symptoms.

What is nasal congestion?

Nasal congestion does not occur among healthy adults after eating chocolate. This symptom will only manifest if the individual has an underlying condition such as an allergy.

Food allergies can cause the tissues in the sinus cavity to become inflamed and irritated within a few minutes of eating chocolate. Once the body experiences an allergic reaction, the white blood cells release histamine in the soft tissues which results to swelling and increased flow of blood. The presence of histamine in the sinuses can cause the nasal passages to become blocked, resulting to congestion.

What are the other symptoms?

Nasal congestion can cause other symptoms to manifest. Due to the blockage created by the congestion, the individual might also develop runny nose, facial tenderness, dripping of mucus down the back of the throat, headache as well as pain in the upper teeth, eyes, cheek bones and forehead. The other common food allergy symptoms might include wheezing, shortness of breath, stomach pain, chest tightness, lightheadedness, diarrhea, hives, coughing, skin itchiness and skin rashes.

Once any of these symptoms manifest, it is best to consult a doctor for further assessment of the condition.

Treatment

Once an individual has been given a diagnosis of having food allergy, the effective treatment is to avoid foods that contain the allergen. If an individual is diagnosed with tree nut allergy, he/she can consume chocolates that do not contain tree nuts. In case the individual develops nasal congestion, a doctor should be consulted regarding the use of over-the-counter decongestants, pain medications and antihistamines to manage the symptoms.

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