Spinach is a common vegetable used in casseroles and salads and as a side dish. Stomach cramps that occur after consuming spinach may be a sign of a more serious condition, or they may be related to food poisoning. If the cramps are consistent every time you eat spinach, you may have a condition called histamine intolerance. Eating spinach also increases your dietary fiber, which could lead to temporary stomach cramping and other digestive symptoms. Talk with your doctor to receive a proper diagnosis.
Histamine is a chemical compound created in the body to protect against infection and disease. Histamine is the cause of most allergy symptoms because your body produces excessive amounts of this chemical when you have contact with an allergen. Histamine is also in certain foods such as spinach, according to Michigan Allergy, Sinus & Asthma Specialists. If you are histamine-intolerant, eating spinach can trigger allergy-like symptoms such as nasal congestion, stomach cramps and skin irritation. The only treatment for histamine intolerance is to avoid foods and beverages that contain this substance.
Spinach is a high-fiber vegetable; when you eat large amounts, it could cause stomach cramps, bloating and diarrhea. Your body does not digest fiber, which helps to maintain regularity and promotes bulk-forming and solid stools. According to MedlinePlus, increasing the amount of fiber you eat can cause stomach cramps for the first few days. Most symptoms will subside as you digestive system becomes accustomed to the amount of fiber you're eating. If symptoms persist, call your doctor.
Food Poisoning Considerations
Food poisoning can occur from eating any food. If after consuming spinach you notice minor to moderate stomach cramps that continually increase and lead to vomiting and diarrhea, call your doctor. Food poisoning occurs when you eat spinach that is contaminated with an infectious organism such as bacteria, toxins or parasites, according to PubMed Health. The spinach may have been contaminated during harvesting, processing or preparation. Treatment typically includes a modified diet, increased fluid intake and rest. Most symptoms last for one to 10 days.
When to See a Doctor
Call your doctor if you notice blood in your stool or vomit, if you develop a fever or if your symptoms persist for more than three days. If stomach cramping becomes a common symptom after eating, you may have a more serious condition such as irritable bowel syndrome.
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.