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Stomach Cramps After Eating Bagels

By Diane Marks ; Updated August 14, 2017

Eating a bagel should not cause stomach cramping. If this unusual symptom is consistent every time you eat a bagel, see your doctor. Bagels may contain common food allergens, such as wheat, eggs, milk and nuts. A common symptom of a food allergy is stomach pain, bloating, gas, cramping, diarrhea and vomiting, according to MayoClinic.com. Avoid eating bagels until you are diagnosed by your physician.

Food Allergy

Food allergies are not considered very common among adults, affecting only about 4 percent of the American adult population, according to MayoClinic.com. The most common foods that cause an allergic reaction include soy, milk, eggs, wheat, fish, peanuts and nuts, according to MedlinePlus. A food allergy can cause minor to severe symptoms from person to person. Even a small amount of a specific food that you’re allergic to can lead to common food allergy symptoms.

Cause

After eating a bagel, if you are allergic to any of the ingredients, your immune system overreacts to the proteins in the food allergen. The body builds a resistance against the food proteins and produces antibodies that specifically attempt to ward off the allergen. The introduction of these antibodies into the blood stream leads to mast cells creating histamine, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. Histamine is a common chemical found in the body that helps fight off infection. In larger quantities, histamine causes inflammation and swelling.

Effect

The increased levels of histamine in the digestive tract will cause the intestines to become inflamed. The inflammation in the gut can lead to your stomach contracting, causing cramping. Cramping will be accompanied with stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, bloating, gas and diarrhea, according to MedlinePlus. Histamine released in other soft tissue throughout the body can cause asthma, skin rashes and nasal complications. You may develop difficulty breathing, wheezing, hives, eczema, skin itchiness and nasal congestion.

Diagnosis

The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology recommends allergy testing to properly diagnose a food-related allergy. The allergist will most likely test you for common food allergy ingredients found in the bagel. Skin prick and blood tests are both used to observe how the body responds to the introduction of specific food proteins. If the body creates IgE antibodies, you will be diagnosed with a food allergy.

Warning

If you experience a severe allergic reaction with symptoms such as low blood pressure, lightheadedness, hives, swelling in the lips, tongue or throat, the inability to breathe and a rapid and faint heart rate, call 911 for emergency medical attention. A severe allergic reaction has the potential to cause death if not properly treated.

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