Understanding Soy Allergy

Soy is made from a plant that produces a bean-like fruit. The beans are dried and processed for oil, flour and other items. Soy can produce an allergic reaction in some people. Like all food allergies, a soy allergy occurs when the immune system overreacts to a substance that is considered a threat to the health of the body. Though this may be a mistaken reaction, the result can cause significant health effects. Generally, soy allergies are seen in infant and young children, but some adults may continue to have problems with reactions.

Soy Products

Unfortunately, many processed foods contain soy products that can trigger a reaction. Food manufacturers use soy products for a number of purposes, in breads, frozen desserts, instant milks, and piecrusts, among others. People with soy allergies should read labels carefully to ensure that they are not ingesting this ingredient without realizing it.

Runny Nose or Stuffiness

A mild allergic reaction to soy products can produce nasal symptoms such as a runny nose or stuffiness. The nose may feel quite congested, making it difficult to breathe normally. Chlorpheniramine or loratadine can be helpful in relieving the congestion.

Hives or Itching

Patches of raised welts called hives can occur in some people who have an allergy to soy products. Others may develop an itchy rash that can occur on any part of the body. Benadryl creams or pills can be helpful in relieving these symptoms.

Abdominal Pain

Soy allergies can also produce symptoms of nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, or diarrhea. These symptoms generally pass in a few hours as the soy allergen passes through the system.


In some people, soy allergy can produce anaphylaxis, a severe reaction that is a medical emergency. Anaphylaxis causes the airway to constrict, preventing breathing and shock can occur, resulting in a severe drop in blood pressure. The pulse rate may be rapid and dizziness can occur. Anaphylaxis can lead to unconsciousness. If you or someone in your presence displays these symptoms, get medical help immediately. Individual with severe soy allergies should carry epinephrine pens with them at all times to prevent emergency situations.

Soy Exceptions

Many people who are allergic to soy products can consume soybean oil without problems. Some processes used to make the oils make them safe for those with allergies. However, other processes may still cause a reaction. Consult with your doctor about oils that are safe for your consumption.