Do you love shrimp but find yourself feeling sick after eating it?
You’re not alone.
Many people experience nausea, vomiting, and other unpleasant symptoms after consuming this popular seafood.
While some may attribute it to food poisoning or a stomach bug, there could be a more serious underlying cause.
In this article, we’ll explore the reasons why shrimp can make you feel nauseous and what you can do about it.
From shellfish allergies to rare food allergies like FPIES, we’ll cover everything you need to know to keep your stomach happy and healthy.
So grab a seat and get ready to dive into the world of shrimp-induced nausea.
Why Does Shrimp Make Me Nauseous?
There are several reasons why shrimp can make you feel nauseous. One of the most common causes is a shellfish allergy.
According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, shellfish allergies affect about 3% of adults in the United States. Shrimp is one of the most common shellfish allergens, and symptoms can range from mild to severe.
If you’re allergic to shrimp, your immune system overreacts when exposed to proteins in the seafood. This can cause symptoms like redness or warmth on the skin, itching or hives, tingling or swelling in the mouth or lips, and even dizziness or fainting.
In severe cases, a shellfish allergy can lead to low blood pressure, confusion, and even cardiac arrest. If you suspect that you have a shellfish allergy, it’s important to see a doctor for an allergy test and avoid all types of shellfish.
Another rare but serious food allergy that can cause nausea after eating shrimp is FPIES. This type of non-IgE mediated food allergy mainly affects babies but can also occur in adults.
FPIES causes symptoms like nausea, vomiting, extreme stomach cramps, and diarrhea. The most common sign of FPIES is delayed vomiting, which can occur several hours after eating the trigger food.
For adults with FPIES, fish and shellfish are the most common trigger foods. If you suspect that you have FPIES, it’s important to see a doctor for a diagnosis and avoid all trigger foods.
Shellfish Allergies: The Most Common Culprit
Shellfish allergies are the most common food allergies in adults, although they can also begin in childhood. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, shellfish allergies affect about 3% of adults in the United States. Among shellfish allergens, shrimp is one of the most common culprits.
People with a shellfish allergy have an overactive immune system that reacts to proteins found in certain marine animals. This can cause a range of symptoms, from mild to severe. Common symptoms include hives, itching or tingling in the mouth or lips, and even difficulty breathing.
In severe cases, a shellfish allergy can lead to anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction that requires immediate medical attention. Anaphylaxis can cause symptoms like low blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, and even loss of consciousness.
It’s important to note that shellfish allergies are typically lifelong and can be severe. Avoiding all types of shellfish is the best way to prevent an allergic reaction. It’s also important to carry an epinephrine auto-injector at all times if you have a known shellfish allergy.
If you suspect that you may have a shellfish allergy, it’s important to see a doctor for an allergy test. Skin tests and blood tests can help determine if you’re allergic to shellfish or other allergens.
Cross-Reactivity With Other Allergies
In some cases, individuals with a shellfish allergy may also experience cross-reactivity with other types of allergies. For example, some people with a shellfish allergy may also be allergic to dust mites or cockroaches. This is because these allergens contain similar proteins to those found in shellfish.
Additionally, some individuals with a shellfish allergy may experience cross-reactivity with other types of seafood. This is because certain types of seafood, such as shrimp, crab, and lobster, contain similar proteins. This means that if you’re allergic to one type of seafood, you may also be allergic to other types.
It’s important to note that not everyone with a shellfish allergy will experience cross-reactivity with other allergens. However, if you have a shellfish allergy and experience symptoms after exposure to other allergens or types of seafood, it’s important to speak with your doctor for an allergy test and proper diagnosis.
FPIES: The Rare Food Allergy You Need To Know About
FPIES, or Food Protein-Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome, is a rare food allergy that affects the gastrointestinal tract. Unlike most food allergies, FPIES symptoms do not appear immediately after eating the trigger food. Instead, it can take several hours for severe symptoms to begin.
FPIES is a non-IgE mediated food allergy, which means that reactions do not look the same as they would for someone who gets hives and throat swelling from shrimp or peanuts. Instead, FPIES mainly affects the GI tract, causing symptoms like nausea, vomiting, extreme stomach cramps, and diarrhea.
The most common sign of FPIES is delayed vomiting, which can occur anywhere from 2-4 hours after eating the trigger food. For adults with FPIES, fish and shellfish are the most common trigger foods. For babies with FPIES, there are many potential trigger foods, although many babies only have one or two foods they react to.
FPIES is frequently misdiagnosed early on as a potential severe blood infection or repeated infections of a gastrointestinal virus. Unlike most food allergies, there is no blood or skin testing available for diagnosis.
The primary treatment for FPIES is strict avoidance of the triggering food. Most children outgrow FPIES by age 3 or 4. However, it’s important to note that having FPIES does not preclude one from having other allergies or intolerances with the same food.
If you suspect that you or your child may have FPIES, it’s important to see a doctor for a diagnosis and to develop a plan for avoiding trigger foods. With proper management and avoidance of trigger foods, people with FPIES can live healthy and normal lives.
Histamine Intolerance: A Lesser-Known Cause Of Shrimp-Induced Nausea
While shellfish allergies and FPIES are well-known causes of nausea after eating shrimp, there is another lesser-known cause that may surprise you: histamine intolerance.
Histamine is a naturally occurring chemical that is produced by the body and found in many foods, including shrimp. In most people, histamine is broken down by an enzyme called diamine oxidase (DAO) and does not cause any issues. However, in some individuals, the body may produce too much histamine or have a deficiency of DAO, causing histamine to accumulate in the body and lead to symptoms of intolerance.
Symptoms of histamine intolerance can be similar to those of an allergic reaction, including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and even hives or swelling. In some cases, histamine intolerance can also cause headaches or migraines.
To diagnose histamine intolerance, a doctor may recommend a strict histamine-free diet for a set amount of time to see if symptoms improve. If they do, it may be an indication of histamine intolerance. It’s important to note that while histamine intolerance is relatively uncommon, affecting approximately 1% of the population according to the American Society for Nutrition, it can be particularly prevalent in middle-aged individuals.
If you suspect that you have histamine intolerance, it’s important to speak with a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. Avoiding high-histamine foods like shrimp may be necessary to manage symptoms and improve overall health.
Food Poisoning Or Bacterial Infections: How To Tell The Difference
It can be difficult to differentiate between food poisoning and bacterial infections, as the symptoms can be similar. Both can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramping, and fever. However, there are some key differences that can help you tell them apart.
Food poisoning is usually caused by consuming food or water contaminated with bacteria, viruses, parasites, or chemicals. Symptoms of food poisoning can appear anywhere between four hours and one week after ingesting a contaminated food item and can persist for as short a time as 24 hours or as long as a week. Most people recover in a couple of days with no lasting problems. In severe cases, however, food poisoning can lead to dehydration and may require medical treatment.
Bacterial infections, on the other hand, are caused by specific types of bacteria and may require antibiotics for treatment. Symptoms of bacterial infections can include fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Vibrio vulnificus infection is a bacterial infection that can be contracted from eating contaminated fish or from contact with seawater through an open cut. Symptoms of this infection include fever, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and more serious symptoms like blisters on the skin.
If you suspect that you have a bacterial infection rather than food poisoning, it’s important to see a doctor for diagnosis and treatment. Blood and stool tests may be needed to determine the specific type of bacteria causing the infection.
Managing Shrimp-Induced Nausea: Prevention And Treatment Options
If you experience nausea after eating shrimp but do not have a shellfish or FPIES allergy, there are still several prevention and treatment options available to manage your symptoms.
One of the best ways to prevent shrimp-induced nausea is to avoid eating shrimp altogether. Carefully check ingredient labels of food products and learn other names for shrimp to be sure not to eat them. You must be extra-careful when you eat out, as waiters (and sometimes the kitchen staff) may not always know every dish’s ingredient list.
If you accidentally consume shrimp and experience nausea, there are several over-the-counter medications that can help relieve your symptoms. Antihistamines like Benadryl can help reduce mild allergy symptoms like itching and hives. Anti-nausea medications like Dramamine or Pepto-Bismol can help alleviate nausea and vomiting.
For severe cases of shrimp-induced nausea, it’s important to seek medical attention immediately. Your doctor may prescribe stronger anti-nausea medications or recommend hospitalization for intravenous fluids and monitoring.
In addition to medication, there are several natural remedies that may help alleviate shrimp-induced nausea. Ginger has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce nausea and vomiting. You can try drinking ginger tea or taking ginger supplements to see if it helps relieve your symptoms.