Differentiating Milk Allergy (IgE And Non-IgE Mediated)

Hello lovely people,

If you didn’t know… Milk allergy is one of the most common childhood food allergies, affecting up to 2% of infants. Despite its high prevalence, there is still a lot of confusion surrounding milk allergy. In part, this is because there are two distinct types of milk allergy: IgE-mediated and non-IgE mediated. Both types of allergies can cause similar symptoms, but they differ in terms of their underlying mechanism. This blog post will discuss the differences between these two types of milk allergy. We will also provide tips for living with milky allergy.

What Is An IgE-Mediated Milk Allergy?

When you have an IgE-mediated milk allergy, your immune system overreacts to the proteins found in milk. This type of reaction is different from lactose intolerance, which is when your body cannot break down lactose, a sugar found in milk. In some cases, an IgE-mediated milk allergy can be life-threatening. Milk proteins are found in all dairy products, so people with this type of allergy need to avoid all milk and milk-based products. There is no cure for an IgE-mediated milk allergy, but the good news is that most children outgrow it by the time they reach school age. If you or your child has an IgE-mediated milk allergy, it’s important to work with a doctor or allergist to create a management plan. This plan will help you identify and avoid triggering foods and know how to deal with reactions if they occur.

Symptoms Of IgE Mediated Milk Allergy:

  • Hives
  • Vomiting
  • Swelling of the lips, tongue, face, or throat
  • Wheezing
  • Coughing
  • Itching or tingling sensation in the mouth

Diagnosis Of IgE Mediated Milk Allergy:

When diagnosing an IgE-mediated milk allergy, your allergist will likely order some tests. These tests may include a skin prick test, where an allergen is placed on the skin, and a small prick is made to allow it to enter the body, or a blood test, in which a sample of your blood is tested for antibodies to milk proteins. Your doctor may also conduct a food challenge, in which you are given small amounts of milk and tested for a reaction.

What Is A Non-IgE Mediated Milk Allergy?

Non-IgE-mediated milk allergy is a medical condition where the immune system reacts to milk proteins in a way that is not mediated by IgE antibodies. This type of milk allergy is often more difficult to diagnose because the symptoms are not always immediate or severe. Instead, they are often delayed and related to underlying intestinal issues such as colic, vomiting, or diarrhea.

Symptoms Of Non-IgE Mediated Milk Allergy:

  • Colicky crying in infants
  • Gassiness or abdominal pain in babies
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Bloody stools (in some cases)
  • Coughing or wheezing
  • Hives (in some cases)

Diagnosis of Non-IgE Mediated Milk Allergy:

The diagnosis of non-IgE-mediated milk allergy is often more complicated than an IgE-mediated one. That’s because the symptoms can be subtle and may be attributed to other medical conditions. Your doctor may order some tests to help diagnose the condition, such as an endoscopy or blood test for antibodies. They may also advise you to do an elimination diet, where you eliminate all milk and milk-based products from your diet and then slowly reintroduce them one at a time.

 Treatment For IgE And Non-IgE Mediated Milk Allergies:

IgE and non-IgE-mediated milk allergies are both treated with a strict avoidance diet. That means no milk or milk-derived products in any form whatsoever. In addition, cross-contamination must be avoided, so any food that may have come into contact with milk must also be avoided. For IgE-mediated allergies, this is often sufficient to prevent reactions. However, for non-IgE-mediated allergies, the avoidance diet must be supplemented with Lyme replacement therapy. This therapy replaces the enzymes missing in the gut, which allows the body to better digest and absorb milk proteins.

For IgE reactions, antihistamines can be taken to reduce itching, swelling, and hives. For non-IgE reactions, corticosteroids can be taken to reduce inflammation. If you have a severe allergy, you may also need to carry an EpiPen in case of an emergency. By understanding the difference between IgE and non-IgE reactions, you can make sure that you get the right treatment for your allergy.

How To Live With A Milk Allergy?

Living with a milk allergy can be challenging. It’s important to follow your doctor’s advice and create an avoidance and management plan that works for you. Make sure to read food labels carefully, as even trace amounts of milk proteins can trigger a reaction. Talk to your doctor about what foods are safe for you to eat and strategies for avoiding cross-contamination. It’s also important to keep an EpiPen with you at all times if you have a severe allergy and to educate those around you about your condition. Living with a milk allergy can be manageable and safe with proper management and understanding.

Tips For Living With A Milk Allergy:

  • Educate yourself and those around you about the allergy.
  • Read food labels carefully for ingredients and potential cross-contamination.
  • Create an avoidance plan with your doctor.
  • Carry an EpiPen if your allergy is severe.
  • Check-in with your doctor regularly to monitor the condition.
  • Take antihistamines or corticosteroids to control symptoms, as advised.
  • Avoid eating out if possible, or be prepared to ask questions about ingredients and potential cross-contamination.
  • Be aware of hidden sources of milk proteins, such as butter flavoring in popcorn and medications.


It is important to be able to differentiate between the two types of milk allergies in order to manage and treat them properly. If you suspect that you or your child may have a milk allergy, it is important to speak with a doctor or allergist who can help diagnose the problem and create a treatment plan. Do you have any experience with milk allergies? How did you determine whether it was an IgE or non-IgE-mediated reaction?

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