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Can Peanuts Cause IBS or Diarrhea?

author image Diane Marks
Diane Marks started her writing career in 2010 and has been in health care administration for more than 30 years. She holds a registered nurse license from Citizens General Hospital School of Nursing, a Bachelor of Arts in health care education from California University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Science in health administration from the University of Pittsburgh.
Can Peanuts Cause IBS or Diarrhea?
Peanuts are not a cause of IBS but can trigger diarrhea and IBS symptoms.

Any food can trigger symptoms in those who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, but peanuts will not cause IBS or diarrhea, unless you’re allergic or have a food intolerance. Any time you develop gastrointestinal symptoms, such as diarrhea after eating peanuts, you need to call your doctor. Diarrhea is not a condition, but rather a sign of another issue. If you have been diagnosed with IBS, certain foods can trigger digestive symptoms.

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Peanuts and IBS

IBS is a chronic digestive condition that affects your bowel movements. It is unclear what causes IBS, but many medical professionals believe it is caused by a communication mishap between the brain and the muscle movement in the colon. This results in abnormal bowel movements, such as diarrhea or constipation. Certain foods can trigger IBS symptoms, such as chocolate, alcohol and dairy products; and it is possible that peanuts can cause your IBS symptoms to develop, but they are not a cause of IBS. If you develop stomach pain, diarrhea, constipation or cramping after eating peanuts and you have IBS, stop eating them and talk with your gastroenterologist.

Peanut Intolerance

If you notice that every time you eat peanuts you develop diarrhea, you may have an intolerance that can cause similar symptoms to IBS but is not connected to the gastric condition. Peanut intolerance is caused by the inability of the small intestines to break down the nut's proteins, which, because they cannot be digested, will cause swelling and irritation to the lining of the digestive system, resulting in bloating, gas, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and stomach pain. The most effective treatment for an intolerance is to avoid consuming peanuts.

Peanut Allergy

Peanut allergies are not the same as peanut intolerance. Where peanut intolerance is caused by a defect in the digestive system, a peanut allergy is caused by a defect in the immune system. Your immune system identifies the proteins found in peanuts as a dangerous substance, which causes the body to create different chemicals to defend itself. A peanut allergy will cause diarrhea within minutes of consumption, along with other symptoms, such as hives, facial swelling, asthma and lightheadedness.


A peanut allergy can lead to a severe allergic reaction. Diarrhea that is accompanied with a rapid heart rate, dizziness and the inability to breathe may require emergency medical attention. Call 911 immediately if you develop these symptoms. Blood in your vomit or diarrhea is an alarming symptom that should be reported to your doctor.

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