4 Reasons Bananas Make Your Stomach Hurt and How to Prevent It

If your stomach hurts after eating a banana, you might have a food sensitivity or allergy.
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When it comes to easy-to-digest foods, bananas are often near the top of the list. In fact, they're a key part of the BRAT diet that's often recommended for soothing an upset stomach. So what might it mean if bananas make your stomach hurt?


"Bananas are not generally a common cause of stomach pain," says Elena Ivanina, DO, director of neuro-integrative gastroenterology at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York. But they could trigger discomfort if you have certain food sensitivities or if you eat them in large quantities.

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Here's a look at some of the most common reasons why you might get a stomachache from bananas and what to do about it.

1. You're Sensitive to FODMAPs

Ripe bananas contain FODMAPs, rapidly fermented sugars that, for some people, can cause excess gas and lead to symptoms like bloating, cramping, diarrhea or constipation.

"Many people with IBS are sensitive to high-FODMAP foods due to the amount of gas that can be produced in the gut, which may trigger an exaggerated pain response," Dr. Ivanina notes.


2. You Ate a Lot of Fiber

A medium banana contains around 3 grams of fiber, mostly in the form of soluble fiber, according to the USDA.

On its own, that's not a ton of roughage (you should aim for somewhere between 21 and 38 grams of fiber per day, depending on your age and sex, per Harvard Health Publishing). But eating several bananas in one sitting or having bananas with other high-fiber foods (like beans, whole grains or other fruits or veggies), especially if you're not used to them, could increase the risk for gas, bloating or cramping, according to the Mayo Clinic.


3. You're Sensitive to Sorbitol

Sorbitol is a naturally occurring sugar alcohol that, while generally harmless, can cause gas, bloating, or diarrhea when consumed in large quantities, per January 2019 findings in ‌Advances in Nutrition‌.

For most people, the sorbitol in a single banana isn't enough to cause an issue. But you might get stomach cramps if you're eating many bananas in one sitting.


4. You Have a Banana Allergy

Food allergies, including an allergy to bananas, are known to cause symptoms like hives, itching and swelling. But they can also cause GI symptoms like nausea, stomach cramps or vomiting, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology (ACAAI).


If you have an allergy to bananas, "you'll experience recurrent symptoms every time you eat them," Dr. Ivanina says. They'll typically come on within two hours, and often within minutes.



While rare, food allergies can cause a potentially life-threatening reaction known as anaphylaxis, which can cause the airways to close. If you have stomach pain along with wheezing, difficulty breathing or lightheadedness, seek medical attention right away.

How to Avoid an Upset Stomach From Bananas

If bananas hurt your stomach, you've got some options. Here are some ways to potentially enjoy the fruit without the stomachache:

  • Figure out why they're making you uncomfortable.‌ If you suspect you're sensitive to the sorbitol or FODMAPs in bananas, try cutting the fruit out for several weeks to see if your symptoms improve, Dr. Ivanina recommends. Think you might have a banana allergy? See an allergist to get tested and have the allergy confirmed.
  • Limit your intake.‌ Even if you're sensitive to sorbitol or FODMAPs, you can experiment with eating small amounts of banana, Dr. Ivanina suggests. Start with just 1/3 of a banana, for instance, and see how you feel. If you're diagnosed with a banana allergy, you'll need to avoid the fruit completely.
  • Pay attention to ripeness.‌ Ripe bananas are higher in FODMAPs than they're underripe counterparts, Dr. Ivanina says, so they may not be the best choice if you have IBS. On the other hand, underripe bananas may worsen constipation, per a December 2014 study in ‌Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition,‌ so keep that in mind if high fiber intake is making it harder to have a bowel movement.
  • Watch your fiber intake.‌ If you suspect you're just getting too much roughage, try dialing back the fiber and gradually upping your intake over the course of several days or weeks. While you increase your fiber, make sure to drink plenty of water.


When to See a Doctor if Bananas Make You Sick

One banana-induced stomachache probably isn't a big deal. (After all, who can say for sure that the banana was the problem?) But you should let your provider know if bananas seem to frequently cause stomach pain. Together, you can discuss your symptoms and decide on next steps to figure out what might be causing the problem.

The Bottom Line

There are a number of reasons why bananas can cause stomach pain. Sensitivities to high-FODMAP foods or sorbitol are high on the list, but you could also have a banana allergy or just be eating too much fiber. If you're having trouble figuring out the culprit, work with your doctor to get to the bottom of your symptoms.




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.

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