Why Do Jalapenos Give Me Stomach Aches?

Jalapenos are enjoyed in Mexican foods for their spicy flavor, but may cause stomach aches if you have certain digestive conditions. Not all stomach aches from eating jalapenos are cause for concern. If you’re sensitive to bloating and gas, you may develop gas pains after eating jalapenos. Other reasons for stomach aches from consuming jalapenos are a peptic ulcer, irritable bowel syndrome or a food allergy. Your health care provider can help diagnose the cause of your stomach aches. Don’t attempt to self-treat without talking with your doctor.

Jalapeno slices with fresh greens and bean sprouts
Jalapenos are commonly used in Mexican cuisine. (Image: Comstock Images/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Gas Pains

Not everyone develops gas from the same foods, but some foods are considered highly gas-forming. The University of Michigan Health Services explains that eating spicy foods, such as jalapenos, can increase the movement of food through your bowels, which can cause more gas. Gas pains develop when gas becomes trapped in your digestive system, placing pressure on your intestines. Common symptoms of gas pains include a knotted feeling in your stomach, passing of gas, sharp pain in your abdomen and swelling in your abdomen, which causes bloating, according to MayoClinic.com. Gas pains may cause severe pain but are harmless.

Peptic Ulcer

If you have a peptic ulcer, eating jalapenos can trigger stomach aches, ranging from minor to severe pain. Ulcers are not caused by eating spicy foods, such as jalapenos, but symptoms of the ulcer can be triggered by eating spicy foods. Most ulcers are the result of an infection in the lining of your digestive system. FamilyDoctor.org recommends that individuals with ulcers avoid eating spicy foods. Until your ulcer is treated, avoid consuming jalapenos or any other spicy food that could cause heartburn. Most ulcers are treated with triple antibiotic treatment to kill the bacteria causing the ulcer.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Certain foods can trigger digestive complications if you have irritable bowel syndrome. IBS is a digestive condition that mainly affects your large intestines, or colon. Not all the same foods trigger IBS symptoms, but some foods more commonly irritate the condition. Spicy foods, dairy products, carbonated beverages and chocolate can all lead to chronic diarrhea, constipation, stomach upset and abdominal pain. The main treatment for IBS is dietary modification, stress reduction and prescribed medications.

Food Allergy

It’s possible that you have a food allergy if you develop stomach aches every time you eat jalapenos. If you have a known allergy to other peppers, you’re more likely to have an allergy to jalapenos. Other symptoms, such as skin rashes, asthma, wheezing, lightheadedness, dizziness and nasal congestion, are signs of a food allergy.

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