If you develop intestinal gas along with other gastric symptoms after you eat boiled eggs, you may have a dietary intolerance to eggs. Egg intolerance is a condition that causes digestive complications anytime you ingest eggs. An egg intolerance is different from an egg allergy. Egg intolerance is caused by a lack of enzymes in your digestive system, while an egg allergy is an overreaction of the immune system to the proteins in eggs. Egg allergies will also cause more symptoms to develop aside from digestive complications.
Egg intolerance occurs if you cannot digest the proteins found in the yolk of the egg, the white of the egg or both. After you ingest a food, your small intestines create enzymes to break down the sugars and proteins in the food. If you don't produce the proper enzyme to digest the proteins found in an egg, the proteins from the egg go undigested and remain in your gut. Once the proteins enter the colon, bacteria forms around them, which causes the most common egg intolerance symptoms.
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The most common symptoms related to egg intolerance include excessive gas, bloating, stomach cramping, pain, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. Symptoms from an egg intolerance typically develop anywhere from 30 minutes or up to two hours after you consume the egg. The severity of the symptoms can depend on how intolerant you are to the proteins. Your intestines may produce a certain amount of enzymes that partially digest the proteins, or you may not produce any of the enzymes at all. If you develop severe abdominal pain or notice blood in your vomit or stool, call your doctor right away.
Egg intolerance is incurable, but it is treatable through identification and avoidance. Talk with your doctor or a gastroenterologist to receive a clinical diagnosis of your condition. Once you're diagnosed, you will need to avoid eating eggs and egg by-products. Eggs may be labeled as an ingredient under a different name. For example, the following ingredients are all made from eggs: globulin, albumen, livetin, egg powder, ovomucin, protein, lecithin, ovoglobulin and vitellin. The federal government requires that packaged foods disclose the use of eggs on the product label. Read labels carefully before you ingest any food product.
Because egg intolerance and egg allergies are commonly confused, you should talk with your doctor about your symptoms. Egg allergies can cause life-threatening symptoms to form if you have a severe allergic reaction. If you develop hives, skin rashes, nasal congestion or asthma after you consume eggs, you most likely have an allergy, not an intolerance.
Is this an emergency? If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, please see the National Library of Medicine’s list of signs you need emergency medical attention or call 911.