Bananas are often enjoyed as a fresh fruit, but if you experience stomach pain after eating a banana, then you should also be careful to watch for them as an ingredient in a large variety of products, from juices and syrups to baked goods and cereals. Stomach pain after eating a banana may indicate a food allergy or a problem with digestion.
Bananas are a tropical fruit grown from herbaceous tree-like plants. There are several different species, but typically "banana" refers to soft, sweet, dessert bananas, while the firmer, cooking bananas are called plantains. Bananas are packed with nutrition; just one medium banana provides potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B6 and dietary fiber.
Food Allergy Basics
A food allergy occurs when your body develops an immune response to proteins in food. Allergy symptoms occur consistently every time the food is eaten and within two hours after eating. You may experience stomach pain, but the first symptoms are usually hives; nausea; vomiting; diarrhea; and itching; or swelling of the eyes, lips, tongue, throat or other parts of the body. A severe allergy may cause a life-threatening reaction called anaphylactic shock, so if symptoms persist or worsen, seek medical help immediately. The University of Chicago notes that 85 percent of food allergies in children are caused by eight different foods: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish and shellfish. It is possible to have a food intolerance caused by your unique biochemistry, but not be allergic, so consult your health care provider if you have any concerns.
A true allergy to bananas is not common, but you may have a cross-sensitivity. This means that other allergies may cause you to be sensitive to bananas and experience food allergy symptoms. If you're allergic to tree pollen, you may have an allergic response to bananas. If you're allergic to latex, or rubber, you have a 35 percent chance of also being allergic to bananas, according to the University of Chicago.
Experiencing stomach pain after eating a banana may indicate you have a problem digesting fructose. Sometimes the small intestine is not able to transport fructose, which is the sugar found in fruit, out of the intestine and into the bloodstream. Fructose malabsorption causes bloating, diarrhea or constipation -- gas and stomach pain that can be mild or acute. Malabsorption affects about 40 percent of all people in the Western Hemisphere, notes Genetics Home Reference. People with fructose intolerance may experience craving or aversion to sweets, fatigue or headaches. Fructose malabsorption should not be confused with fructose intolerance, which is an inherited condition that appears in infancy and may have serious complications such as failure to grow or liver disease.