Why Do Bananas Give Me Stomach Cramps?
Bananas are full of potassium, fiber and vitamin C, but they can also be a source of stomach cramps for some people. If you experience stomach discomfort when eating a banana, you might have an allergy or intolerance. Seeing your doctor is important in finding the source of your cramps.
Abdominal pain occurs in the area between your chest and pelvis. You may describe the discomfort with other terms, such as cramping, or a stomach, tummy, belly or gut ache. Abdominal pain has a long list of potential causes, including allergies and intolerance to certain foods. Stomach pain can originate from a number of organs related to digestion, including the stomach, intestines, esophagus, liver, pancreas and gallbladder. If you're experiencing severe stomach pain, visit your doctor to determine the cause.
If you experience pain when you eat bananas, you might have an intolerance to them. Bananas contain amines that some people with a sensitive digestive system cannot process. You may also have an absence of diamine oxidase, an enzyme used to digest the amines. If so, you will not be able to break down the proteins in bananas. The reactions are similar to allergic reactions, so you might mistake the intolerance for a banana allergy.
If you are allergic to ragweed, you might also be allergic to bananas. In the case of a ragweed allergy, you might not have stomach symptoms, but your mouth will tingle and itch. You may experience throat swelling as a result of eating bananas. The allergy-causing protein in bananas is similar to the protein in ragweed. If you cook the banana, you may be able to avoid reactions, since cooked fruits and vegetables don't usually cause oral allergy symptoms. Melon and tomato allergies are also associated with ragweed allergies.
If you have an allergy to bananas, you have a problem with the protein that causes all food allergies -- chitinase. Eating the protein causes your immune system to react negatively. Your allergy may be accompanied by allergies to kiwi, avocado and chestnuts, since chitinase is present in them too. If you have an allergy to latex, you might also be allergic to bananas because the antibodies in latex react with the antigens in chitinase. Antigens are responsible for fighting antibodies.
- National Institute of Health Sciences: Division of Medical Devices: Latex-Fruit Syndrome and Class 2 Food Allergy
- MayoClinic.com: Food Allergy Symptoms
- MayoClinic.com: Food Allergy Definition
- Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America: Ragweed Allergy
- Instah.com: Banana Allergy: Symptoms and Treatment
- MayoClinic.com: Abdominal Pain