Why do eggs upset the stomach?

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Why do eggs upset the stomach?


Eggs are one of the most nutritious food substances containing highest amount of proteins. Eggs are an integral part of most of the bakery products and have lot of culinary properties.

Egg is mainly divided into three components, the egg shell, egg white and the yolk sac. The egg shell is the outer protective hard covering. Egg white is present within the egg and it is rich in water and proteins. It contains all the essential amino acids. Egg yolk is yellow in color and is extremely rich in lipid (fat) content. Egg is considered to be rich in protein and all essential amino acids making it a ‘complete protein’ source. Along with proteins and lipids, it also contains vitamins A, D in large quantity and many other vitamins in minor quantity.

Some people report pain in the abdomen after eating raw eggs. This could be due to a bacterial infection called salmonella. It is commonly seen to infect eggs. It can be controlled by boiling eggs which kills the bacteria. Also, cooked eggs are better tolerated by people because the proteins in it are broken down to a much simpler form and are easily digested by the body.

There are multiple reasons why people develop stomach ache after eating cooked eggs; so it’s necessary to avoid foodstuffs which contain egg as an ingredient. If a person develops pain in the stomach after eating cooked eggs, it could be either an allergy or intolerance to eggs. One of the most common allergies observed in people is an allergy to eggs. It is due to certain immune mechanisms that produces an exaggerated response to an innocuous substance like an egg. As soon as an egg is eaten, the immune system becomes active and lymphocytes fight against egg proteins considering it to be a foreign body. The body then produces antibodies against the egg proteins. IgE antibodies become elevated along with histamine levels. This cascade of reactions produces the allergic symptoms of skin rashes and redness, hives, increased itching all over body, breathlessness and asthma-like complaints in some people. Along with these allergic responses, some patients may experience gastric complaints comprising of nausea, vomiting, flatus formation, belching and bloating of abdomen.

If there is intolerance to eggs it is mainly due to enzymatic deficiencies. It is not due to an immune response. It has to do with indigestion of certain proteins caused by lack of specific digestive enzymes. They will present with cramps in the abdomen, colic, vomiting and nausea. The allergic skin complaints are most often missing in such cases. Sometimes people can tolerate products containing egg as an ingredient because the quantity of egg proteins gets diluted and the little quantity that is present doesn’t produce much trouble. Such people will have complaints only if they take egg directly. One should check specifically whether the allergy is for egg white or the yolk and continue other foods accordingly. The other step would be to substitute eggs with other food substances like soya products. Nutritionally, it is difficult to replace eggs with other food stuffs.

Summary: Eggs are a good source of all nutrition but if it causes pain in the abdomen it should be replaced with other high protein foods like meats, liver, pulses and beans. The cause of an upset stomach after eating raw eggs could be a bacterial infection through a contaminated egg. Cooked eggs could lead to digestion problems due to allergies to egg proteins or enzymatic deficiencies to digest the proteins it contains.

Author: rachita

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