Are you one of those people who loves the taste of bacon, ham, and pork chops but always ends up with stomach cramps or diarrhea after eating them?
You’re not alone.
Pork is a popular meat, but it can cause digestive issues for some people. In this article, we’ll explore the possible reasons why pork might be giving you diarrhea and other unpleasant symptoms.
From allergies and intolerances to improper preparation and food poisoning, we’ll cover it all.
So, if you’re tired of feeling sick after eating pork, keep reading to find out why it might be happening and what you can do about it.
Why Does Pork Give Me Diarrhea?
There are several reasons why pork might be causing your diarrhea. One possibility is that you have a food allergy or intolerance to pork. According to Food Allergy Research & Education, about 32 million Americans have food allergies, and while pork allergies are relatively rare, they are on the rise.
Another possibility is that the pork you ate was undercooked or improperly prepared. This can lead to food poisoning caused by bacteria such as Yersinia enterocolitica or Trichinella spiralis. These bacteria can cause symptoms such as diarrhea, stomach cramps, and nausea.
Improper handling and hygiene issues can also contribute to food poisoning from pork. For example, if the meat is not stored correctly or kitchen utensils are not properly cleaned, bacteria can grow and cause illness.
It’s also worth noting that there is evidence of a tie between those who have a cat allergy and experience symptoms when eating pork in what is called pork-cat syndrome. In those cases, the body’s allergic antibodies can cross-react to both cat albumin and pork albumin.
Understanding Pork Allergies And Intolerances
Pork allergies are an adverse immune response after consuming pork and its byproducts. It is also called pork-cat syndrome because most pork allergies are related to cat allergies. People develop this sensitivity due to an allergic response to cat serum albumin that cross-reacts with albumin in pork. Other causes of pork allergy are unknown. Symptoms of a pork allergy can include hives, itching, swelling, vomiting, and difficulty breathing. In severe cases, it can lead to anaphylaxis, which can be life-threatening.
A food intolerance or sensitivity occurs when your digestive system reacts adversely after eating a certain food. While food allergies and food sensitivities are rare for meat – including chicken, beef, and lamb- it is possible. Meat proteins can trigger IgG sensitivities which can be picked up through a food sensitivity test. Pork allergy symptoms can be similar to that of pork sensitivity, so it can sometimes be difficult to determine whether the reaction to pork is one over the other, making testing all the more important to understanding your gut.
Pork can also fall under the red meat allergy category. But it’s also possible that someone can have a cross-reactive response to pork, rather than true allergy. With cross-reactivity, the body reacts to something that resembles a substance you are allergic to. In the case of pork, it’s usually cat allergens. Known as pork-cat syndrome, the reaction is triggered by the similar molecular structure of cat and pork albumin (a type of protein). While people allergic to pork are typically allergic to cats, the opposite is not true. As such, the cat allergy is considered the true allergy, while the pork allergy is the cross-reactive response.
If you suspect that you have a pork allergy or intolerance, it’s necessary to see a doctor or allergy specialist to determine if this is affecting you. They may recommend an elimination diet or skin prick test to determine if you have a true allergy or sensitivity. Additionally, it’s important to properly prepare and cook pork meat to avoid food poisoning caused by bacteria such as Yersinia enterocolitica or Trichinella spiralis. Proper handling and hygiene practices should also be followed when preparing and storing pork meat.
The Role Of Improper Preparation In Causing Digestive Issues
Improper preparation of pork can lead to digestive issues such as diarrhea. When pork is undercooked, it can harbor parasites like roundworms or tapeworms that can cause foodborne illnesses like trichinosis or taeniasis. These illnesses can cause symptoms such as diarrhea, stomach cramps, and nausea. Additionally, bacteria such as Yersinia enterocolitica or Trichinella spiralis can also cause food poisoning if the pork is not cooked to a recommended temperature.
Apart from undercooking, improper handling and hygiene issues can also contribute to food poisoning from pork. For instance, if the meat is not stored correctly or kitchen utensils are not properly cleaned, bacteria can grow and cause illness. It’s essential to ensure that the pork is cooked thoroughly and that proper hygiene practices are followed when handling and preparing it. This will help reduce the risk of food poisoning and digestive issues caused by improperly prepared pork.
Food Poisoning From Pork: Symptoms And Prevention
Food poisoning from pork can be caused by bacteria such as Yersinia enterocolitica or Trichinella spiralis. Symptoms of food poisoning from pork can vary depending on the type of bacteria and the severity of the infection. Common symptoms include abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and weakness. Digestive system symptoms typically begin within 24 to 48 hours after eating contaminated, undercooked pork. Muscle and joint pain, cough, headache, fever and chill may develop weeks after the initial symptoms.
To prevent food poisoning from pork, it is important to properly cook and handle the meat. Pork should be cooked to an internal temperature of at least 145°F (63°C) and allowed to rest for three minutes before serving. It is also important to use separate cutting boards and utensils for raw meat to avoid cross-contamination.
In addition to proper cooking and handling, it is recommended to buy pork from a reputable source and check for any signs of spoilage before cooking. Spoiled pork may have a sour smell or slimy texture.
If you suspect that you have food poisoning from pork, it is important to seek medical attention immediately. Early treatment can help to permanently eliminate the parasite from the body and prevent further complications.
Other Possible Reasons For Pork-Related Diarrhea
In addition to the reasons mentioned above, there are other possible explanations for why pork might be causing your diarrhea. One such reason is the presence of gastrointestinal disorders in pigs, particularly diarrhea. Diarrhea in pigs can be caused by various factors, including bacterial, viral, and parasitic infections, as well as nutritional issues.
Industrialized pig production often exacerbates this problem by overusing antibiotics, which can damage intestinal health and increase bacterial resistance. To combat this issue, the World Health Organization has called for restricting the use of antibiotics in animals to cases where they are truly needed, and eliminating their systematic use as growth promoters or preventives.
Another possible cause of pork-related diarrhea is the practice of feeding pigs with contaminated meat or animal byproducts. This can lead to the spread of diseases such as trichinellosis, which used to be more common but is now relatively rare due to legislation prohibiting the feeding of raw-meat garbage to hogs and the public awareness of the danger of eating raw or undercooked pork products.
Coping Strategies For Those With Pork Sensitivities
If you suspect that you have a pork sensitivity, there are several coping strategies that can help manage your symptoms and improve your overall health. Here are some tips to consider:
1. Avoid pork: The most straightforward way to cope with a pork sensitivity is to eliminate pork from your diet entirely. Be sure to read food labels carefully, as some unexpected items may contain pork or animal fats.
2. Consider a food sensitivity test: If you suspect that you have an underlying food sensitivity, a premium food sensitivity test may help you identify the specific foods that trigger your symptoms.
3. Practice good hygiene: Proper handling and hygiene are essential when preparing and storing pork. Make sure to wash your hands and kitchen utensils thoroughly to prevent the growth of bacteria.
4. Cook pork thoroughly: Undercooked or improperly prepared pork can cause food poisoning, which can lead to diarrhea and other symptoms. Make sure to cook pork to an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C) to kill any harmful bacteria.
5. Carry medication: In severe cases, a pork sensitivity can lead to anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction. If you have a history of severe allergic reactions, carry epinephrine with you at all times.
6. Consult with an allergist: If you suspect that you have a pork sensitivity, it’s important to consult with an allergist for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. They can help you manage your symptoms and provide guidance on how to avoid potential triggers.
By following these coping strategies, those with pork sensitivities can take control of their health and improve their relationship with food. Remember, if you experience any severe symptoms such as difficulty breathing or swelling of the mouth or throat, seek immediate medical attention.