Can sushi cause stomach pain?

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Sushi is a combination of sticky rice and raw fish that has been a favorite by many individuals as long as it is handled and properly served. If this dish is not prepared or handled properly, it can trigger food poisoning or a parasitic infection that can result to stomach pain. In some circumstances, there is the possibility that the individual is experiencing an allergic reaction. Even though the pain is mild and passes on its own, it is best to seek medical care if fish is involved in the ensuing stomach pain.

Food poisoning

Food poisoning can develop once the fish or another component utilized in preparing sushi is contaminated with bacteria. Incorrect handling and storage can contribute to food poisoning as well as eating fish that is packed with toxins. The symptoms of food poisoning tend to vary but can also include stomach pain, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, headache or weakness in severe cases.

When it comes to a mild case of food poisoning, it might only have mild abdominal cramping as a symptom and quickly passes. On the other hand, it is still recommended to seek medical care for food poisoning that was caused by eating fish.

Parasitic infection

Stomach pain due to sushi
The symptoms of food poisoning tend to vary but can also include stomach pain, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, headache or weakness in severe cases.

Incorrect preparation of raw fish that is used in sushi can lead to stomach pain due to a parasitic infection, especially Anisakis simplex which is a roundworm responsible for most of the parasitic infection due to consumption of raw fish.

Always bear in mind that the Anisakis roundworm digs into the wall of the stomach and triggers symptoms that include nausea, vomiting and stomach pain. Take note that the symptoms can start after a few minutes or within a few weeks after ingestion of the parasite-infested raw fish. Other types of parasitic infections can cause strikingly similar symptoms.

Allergy to fish

The stomach pain that occurs after consuming sushi might be due to an allergic reaction. Most cases of reactions are triggered by shellfish and fish which are the usual ingredients in sushi.

An allergic reaction triggered by a particular food often results to stomach pain as the initial symptom and it might be the only one to manifest. The other symptoms that can manifest include the following:

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing episodes
  • Hives
  • Tingling or itching in the mouth

A doctor should be consulted so that the individual will undergo testing. The testing is required in order to determine the specific allergy.

Precautions to bear in mind

When an individual eats sushi that was prepared in restaurants and stores that observe strict health standards, the likelihood of food poisoning can be prevented as well as reduce the risk for infection by parasites.

The consumption of sushi that is prepared at home is considered more challenging, but using fish and other ingredients that were properly stored and cleaned can greatly help.

Always wash hands thoroughly before handling raw foods and ensure that all the utensils used are properly sanitized using water and soap. If an individual is highly sensitive to one type of fish, it is vital to avoid all types of fish since many individuals who are allergic to a single type of fish are allergic to others.

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