Do you get diarrhea after eating eggs? Why CAN you get diarrhea after eating eggs? Is it common to get diarrhea from eggs? Read on to find out what are the possible reasons why you can get diarrhea after you eat eggs and what to do if that happens depending on the cause!
Can you get diarrhea after eating eggs?
You can definitely get diarrhea after eating eggs, whether it’s chicken eggs, duck eggs or goose eggs, turkey eggs, quail eggs or less familiar varieties such as pheasant, peahen or partridge. Any kind of egg really can give you diarrhea. And it’s never about the variety.
Why do you get diarrhea after eating eggs?
There are a number of reasons for diarrhea caused by the consumption of eggs, including allergic reactions and infections. The main causes are:
The number one reason why you can get diarrhea after eating eggs is a gastrointestinal infection. The diarrhea can occur within 12-24 to 72 hours after eating the eggs, depending on the source pathogen and its incubation period.
It’s fairly easy for eggs to get spoiled and contaminated with various bacteria, cross-contaminated during storage or preparation, or not cooked well enough or for long enough to prevent passing on an infectious agent. Whatever the reason, it’s important to take immediate measures if you suspect you have an infection from eating eggs.
Experiencing other symptoms such as a fever, nausea and vomiting, and severe abdominal cramps or abdominal pain is also strongly indicative of an infection. An infection caused by eating eggs is almost always bacterial in nature and will require antibiotics. If you suspect you have an infection from eating eggs, see your doctor as soon as possible.
2. Allergic reaction
Eggs are one of the most common food allergens worldwide, topping the list alongside culinary nuts, milk and soy. What is an egg allergy? An egg allergy is essentially an instance of hypersensitivity, that is, an excessive response of the immune system to proteins present naturally in eggs.
An egg allergy can manifest in many ways depending on the severity of the allergy. Egg allergy can be limited to a skin rash with itchy, raised, red bumps (hives) or cracks in the skin (allergic eczema/dermatitis) and resolve by itself within several hours. But it can also be severe in which case symptoms build up to anaphylactic shock which is fatal unless emergency medication is administered within a certain window of time.
While a skin rash is definitely a telling symptom of egg allergy, you can also experience more atypical symptoms such as digestive upset with abdominal cramps or stomach pain, loose stools and diarrhea after eating eggs.
Symptoms of egg allergy:
Other egg allergy symptoms to look out for include: nausea and vomiting, a tingling sensation in the throat or mouth, hoarseness, wheezing, swelling of the lips, tongue or throat, swelling of the eyelids and undereye area or swelling of the entire face, closing of the airways due to swelling, difficulty breathing, asthma, but also lightheadedness, dizziness, low blood pressure and fainting.
If you are allergic to eggs and suspect you have come into contact with the allergen, or start to experience symptoms of an allergic reaction after eating eggs, even without a known history of egg allergy, seek medical help immediately. Symptoms of an allergic reaction can progress rapidly – anaphylactic shock can occur in as little as 2 minutes – so make those around you aware of the situation immediately.
3. Intolerance to eggs
An intolerance to eggs is a medical condition similar to, but less severe than egg allergy. Up to a certain point, symptoms are similar to those of egg allergy, but the difference is an egg intolerance does not progress to anaphylactic shock.
Egg intolerance symptoms commonly include digestive upset. It’s common to experience bloating, excessive burping, stomach pain or painful abdominal cramps, loose stools and diarrhea after eating eggs if you have an intolerance to eggs.
4. Spoiled eggs
It’s common to get diarrhea after eating eggs if the eggs are spoiled. Eggs more likely to be spoiled are eggs older than 45-60 days that have not been refrigerated continually, or kept in a cool place away from direct sunlight.
Also, always avoid eggs with cracks in the shell, eggs that have come into contact with contaminated material (e.g. eggs that have yolk material on them) and eggs that you are not certain were stored properly.
5. Cross contamination
There are many reasons why you can get diarrhea after eating eggs and one of those reasons is cross-contamination. Dirty surfaces or dirty utensils paired with insufficient cooking of the eggs can lead to foodborne illness and diarrhea. It may be diarrhea due to bacteria contaminating the eggs or diarrhea due to contamination of the eggs dish with food allergens other than eggs (e.g. peanuts, strawberries, milk, soy, avocado).
6. Not cooking your eggs well or enough
A sure way to get diarrhea after eating eggs is by not cooking your eggs well, or for long enough. Even if the eggs are not very fresh or officially approaching their expiration date, or potentially contaminated or on the verge of spoiling, cooking heat can still render them safe to eat provided they are cooked thoroughly and for long enough.
Undercooked eggs that run a risk of causing foodborne illness and associated diarrhea are typically runny eggs. For example:
- Fried eggs with slightly runny egg white / the egg white looks slimy-raw on top. Cooked egg white should be all firm, with no egg white slime on top. Using a lid when frying your eggs can help cook the egg through.
- Fried eggs with an overly runny egg yolk: if the yolk is too runny, or all liquid, and has the exact same color as when it was raw, then it’s undercooked. Ideally, use a lid to cook the yolk through, or at least fry until you see a few bubbles on the surface of the yolk which is a sign at least some cooking heat is coming through cooking the yolk.
- Soft-boiled eggs whose egg white is barely holding together or is still somewhat slimy and whose egg yolk is completely liquid.
- Poached eggs whose egg white is barely holding together or is still somewhat slimy and whose egg yolk is completely liquid.
- Soft egg omelet. While a soft, fluffy omelet is the reigning standard, it’s still somewhat undercooked. Unless your eggs are fresh and from a trusted source, cook the omelet well, until it’s firm and has no sliminess to it.
7. Too much fat
If you get diarrhea after eating eggs, then it’s possible you’ve eaten too much fat. Eating too much fat at once can cause greasy, loose stools and diarrhea as excess fat changes the composition of your stools.
It may be that you’ve had too many eggs at once or too many eggs in a short amount of time (e.g. last day, last two days). Too many eggs can mean a different thing to different people. For example, some people can eat two eggs every day for breakfast, but other can only have 2 to 4 eggs a week tops.
Of course, you don’t usually eat eggs by themselves. So it may also be that you’ve had the eggs with a sauce such as bechamel or mayo sauce, or mayonnaise. Or you’ve paired the eggs with other foods that are source of fat such as a cheese or avocado or cold cuts or bacon or French fries or deep fried things or more of these foods and had lots too.
Fortunately, if this is really the cause behind the loose stools and diarrhea, it’s self-resolving and only requires you to stop eating eggs for a few days, and other fatty foods, to allow your digestive system to self-regulate.
This post was updated on Wednesday / November 24th, 2021 at 9:55 PM