Because lettuce is such a bland food, it may seem unlikely that it would cause stomach pain. However, lettuce is considered a gas-forming food. Eating lettuce increases your chances of developing bloating, gas pain and belching. Other probable causes of stomach pain from eating lettuce include food poisoning, food allergies and irritable bowel syndrome. An evaluation from your health care provider will provide you with a clinical diagnosis of your condition and effective treatment options.
The most common reason for pain in your stomach after eating lettuce is gas pain. Gas pains develop when pockets of gas become trapped in your digestive system. Gas pains can cause dull pains or sharp and intense pains that come and go. If you are prone to gas, avoid eating lettuce and other gas-forming foods, such as beans, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, carbonated beverages, pears, apples and peaches. Gas pains are alleviated by having a bowel movement, passing gas or burping.
If you develop stomach pain that persists and increases in severity, you may have food poisoning. Produce is a common source of food poisoning, especially if you fail to properly wash the lettuce before you ingest it. Food poisoning occurs when you ingest lettuce that is contaminated with infectious organisms, such as bacteria, parasites or viruses, according to MedlinePlus. The most effective treatment for food poisoning is rest and increased fluid intake. Symptoms, which last from one to 10 days, may include vomiting, diarrhea and severe abdominal pain.
A food allergy to lettuce is unlikely, but you may have an allergic reaction to one or more of the foods you eat with lettuce. Lettuce is typically consumed with other vegetables and dressing. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, tomatoes, strawberries, milk, soy, wheat, tree nuts, peanuts and fish are highly allergenic foods. Most salad dressing contains one or more of these common food allergens. If you have a known food allergy, read the product label before ingesting the dressing.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Foods affect people with irritable bowel syndrome differently. Not everyone has the same food triggers. If you’ve been diagnosed with IBS and you notice that eating lettuce triggers your symptoms, talk with your doctor and avoid consuming lettuce. IBS is a digestive condition that is not fully understood by the medical community, and causes chronic diarrhea, constipation or both.