If you've experienced diarrhea after eating eggs, you're not alone. Despite eggs' recognized nutritional value, egg consumption has been linked to several digestive system conditions. If you're stumped by your symptoms, your physician can help you solve the mystery.
Diarrhea After Eating Eggs
If you've had episodes of diarrhea after consuming an egg-based dish, chances are the eggs weren't cooked until the whites and yolks were firm. If those eggs were contaminated with the nasty Salmonella bacteria, you stood a good chance of contracting this dangerous infection. For very young children, the elderly and people with compromised immune systems, a Salmonella infection can be life-threatening.
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If you're a victim of Salmonella, symptoms usually begin to appear within six to 48 hours after consuming a tainted food. It's common to experience many diarrhea episodes daily, with extreme cases possibly resulting in hospitalization. Besides diarrhea after eating eggs, Salmonella symptoms include abdominal cramps, fever and vomiting. Most people don't require antibiotic treatment, and recover within four to seven days.
To decrease your chances of becoming infected with Salmonella, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that you buy only pasteurized eggs and egg-based products. Purchase the eggs only from stores that keep them in a refrigerated case, and refrigerate the eggs to 40 degrees Fahrenheit or colder at home. Always throw away dirty or cracked eggs. After handling the raw eggs, scrub all utensils, countertops and cutting boards with a healthy amount of soap and water.
Note the Eggs and Diarrhea Allergy Connection
Food intolerances and allergies seem to be running rampant, with many people having some degree of food sensitivity. Eggs are found in many different types of foods, and are used in processing certain beverages. So, it's not surprising that some people have developed an adverse response (also called a food intolerance) after egg consumption.
A food intolerance generally affects the digestive system or metabolism. This temporary ailment can often cause uncomfortable symptoms, but isn't usually life-threatening.
In contrast, notes the Mayo Clinic, a food allergy triggers an immune system response that can negatively affect several body organs. In this case, you might become the victim of an eggs and diarrhea allergy connection. Multiple symptoms may also make an appearance. Food allergies can run the gamut from mildly unpleasant to severe and life threatening.
Your food intolerance symptoms can vary, depending on your body's makeup and the amount of eggs you consume. In addition to diarrhea, you might experience bloating and/or gas, stomach cramps or pain, vomiting, headaches, a skin rash and other symptoms. You could also feel a general sense of fatigue.
Read more: Foods to Eat to Stop Diarrhea
Can Eggs Upset your Stomach?
If your stomach goes on a painful rollercoaster ride after eating a tasty egg dish, you might be having an allergic reaction to the egg's proteins. Simply put, your body thinks the proteins are unwelcome invaders, and dispatches chemicals to stop them. Those well-meaning chemicals trigger an allergic reaction, in this case stomach pains. The maddening eggs and diarrhea allergy connection might also reappear.
Severe reactions can even include anaphylaxis, a life-threatening emergency that affects your breathing and can even trigger shock. If you think you're having a severe reaction to eggs (or any food), seek medical attention immediately.
To determine if an egg allergy is the culprit, schedule an appointment with an allergy specialist. During your first visit, he (or she) will perform a blood test or a skin-prick test, which will hopefully provide some answers. If not, they'll schedule an oral food test, in which you eat a few bites of egg under medical supervision. If you have a negative reaction, medical personnel will be right there to handle it.
Eggs as a Cause of IBS
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is considered a milder food sensitivity compared to a food allergy, states Dr. Mark Hyman of the Cleveland Clinic. However, this digestive system and bowel malfunction comes with some very uncomfortable symptoms. If you're affected by IBS, you'll experience gas and bloating, diarrhea, stomach distention and cramps. And, you'll probably make frequent trips to the bathroom after meals.
Although IBS can have varied origins, most episodes result from food allergies or small intestine bacterial overgrowth. Eggs are a known IBS trigger, along with a variety of other common foods. Dr. Hyman firmly believes that a targeted treatment plan, based on each patient's specific situation, will provide the best outcome.
Read more: Should I Be Eating Egg Yolks Every Day?
Child has Diarrhea After Eating Eggs
If you've searched online for "eggs diarrhea baby," you'll find that children can also experience diarrhea and other troublesome symptoms after consuming eggs or an egg-containing dish. If your child has a food allergy, even a very small quantity of eggs can cause a dramatic reaction.
According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, eggs are among the most common food allergy culprits. Although some children become less susceptible to food allergies as they grow older, there's no guarantee the "eggs diarrhea baby" problem will disappear.
Although food allergy symptoms vary with each child, they'll generally develop quickly, less than an hour after eating the offending food. Common food allergy indicators include hives, eczema, stomach pain or cramps, vomiting and nausea.
Watch for severe symptoms such as throat tightness or itching. You might also notice swelling or itching of the child's mouth, tongue, lips or entire face. Asthma symptoms, such as wheezing and breathing difficulty, can also occur. Food allergies can trigger a life-threatening emergency, so please seek medical care without delay if necessary.
Egg Elimination Diet
To get to the root of your digestive riddle, and determine if you have a food allergy, your physician might prescribe an egg elimination diet. For about two to four weeks, you'll completely banish eggs from your menu. You'll likely keep a food diary, and your doctor will keep close tabs on your symptoms. If eggs are indeed the culprit, your symptoms should gradually go away by the end of the test period.
To confirm the diagnosis, your physician might slowly add eggs back into your diet. If your symptoms gradually reappear, that validates the original "food allergy" diagnosis. Finally, here's one very important note: you should only conduct a food elimination diet (of any type) under a medical professional's supervision.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: “Salmonella and Eggs”
- University of Maryland: Dining at Maryland: “Allergies, Intolerance, and Sensitivity”
- Mayo Clinic: “Food Allergy vs Food Intolerance: What's the Difference?”
- Children's Hospital of Philadelphia: “Food Intolerance”
- American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology: “Egg Allergy”
- Cleveland Clinic: HealthEssentials: “What's Really Causing Your Irritable Bowel Syndrome?
- University of Rochester Medical Center: Health Encyclopedia: “Food Allergies in Children”
- Food Allergy Research & Education: “Food Elimination Diet”