Pumpkin diarrhea: are toxins or intolerance to blame?

Pumpkin is healthy and is generally considered to be well tolerated. If you still develop symptoms such as diarrhea after consuming it, an intolerance could be to blame. Another possibility and often underestimated danger is poisoning by cucurbitacins, poisonous bitter substances that can be found in cucurbits. A simple test will reveal them.

In this article you will learn:

  • what causes diarrhea can have after eating pumpkin,
  • how to recognize an allergy or intolerance,
  • what symptoms pumpkin poisoning causes and
  • how to recognize poison in a pumpkin with a simple test.

Pumpkin Intolerance Diarrhea: How Do I Recognize the Signs?

If you have diarrhea after eating pumpkin, there could be several possible causes. For example, one possibility is that you have a pumpkin allergy. However, this is very rare – so rare that a study has so far documented a case without any doubt for the first time. Other causes can be an intolerance or even poisons in the pumpkin .

If you have frequent diarrhea or other digestive problems after eating , you should see a doctor. This is the only way to clarify the causes and treat your complaints adequately.

This is how a pumpkin allergy manifests itself

Symptoms of a pumpkin allergy vary in severity from person to person and can affect not only the digestive tract (vomiting, cramps, constipation, diarrhea), but also:

  • Skin and mucous membranes (for example, swelling, redness, and itching)
  • Respiratory tract (e.g. coughing, sneezing, shortness of breath, shortness of breath)

Other plants from the cucurbitaceae family can also cause allergies. These include cucumber, watermelon and zucchini, among others. Due to the similar protein structure of these related plants, cross-reactions with the different pumpkin varieties are possible. So if you are allergic to pumpkin, you may also experience discomfort from contact with cucumbers. Conversely, it is possible that you are actually allergic to cucumber, but pumpkin also causes allergy symptoms .

An allergy – in contrast to an intolerance – arises when your body incorrectly classifies actually harmless substances (which are then referred to as allergens) as dangerous and fights them with the help of an immune reaction . The body’s own messenger substance histamine is released, which causes the typical allergy symptoms.

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An allergy differs from an intolerance (also known as  intolerance) in that it is mediated by the immune system,  while an intolerance arises from the fact that the body can not break down certain components in food – usually due to an enzyme deficiency – and reacts with digestive problems. You can find out more about this in our article “Difference between allergies and intolerance” .

Zucchinis are also a cucurbit and can cause allergies.

Symptoms of pumpkin intolerance

Another possibility why you have diarrhea after consuming pumpkin is an intolerance to salicylic acid or its salts, the salicylates. By producing salicylic acid, certain plants protect themselves from disease. This intolerance is by far not as common as gluten or wheat sensitivity, lactose intolerance or fructose intolerance .

Nevertheless, it can trigger high levels of suffering in those affected because salicylic acid is not only naturally found in a number of foods (e.g. in broccoli, cucumber, chicory, apricots, blueberries and many others), but also in numerous cosmetics and drugstore items (e.g. mouthwash, shampoo, Lotion, toothpaste) and pharmaceuticals (the best-known example is ASA, which we know under the trade name Aspirin). Those affected cannot properly break down the salicylates in food and react with symptoms that sometimes resemble those of a pumpkin allergy and can differ from person to person in severity and severity:

  • Stuffy nose
  • Sinus infection
  • Asthma
  • diarrhea
  • Flatulenz
  • stomach pain
  • Rash

It can be assumed that the different types of pumpkin differ in their salicylic acid content. However, one cannot generally say that certain types of pumpkin are well tolerated if there is an intolerance and others are poorly. Lists with the salicylic acid contents of various foods differ greatly from one another – depending on which measurement methods are used, which parts of the food (e.g. with or without peel) were measured and which types were examined. In addition, such overview tables do not cover the entire breadth of food types.

If you suffer from high levels of suffering due to intolerance, it may be advisable to avoid all types of pumpkin. If, on the other hand, the symptoms are less severe, you can carefully try out whether you tolerate certain varieties better than others by paying close attention to possible symptoms after consuming them.

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Common varieties in this country are for example:

  • Hokkaido pumpkin
  • Nutmeg Pumpkin
  • Jack be Little
  • Butternut squash
  • Spaghettikürbis

You can also eat pumpkin meat raw. However, pumpkin (whether cooked or raw does not matter) can be poisonous and not only lead to diarrhea, but also to solid food poisoning, which in rare cases is even fatal.

Salicylic acid, which causes allergies, is also found in numerous hygiene products.

Poisonous Pumpkin Diarrhea: How Do I Know?

Pumpkin not only tastes delicious and can be processed in a variety of ways, but is also very healthy : The pulp is low in calories and rich in fiber, which is important for our intestinal health . Pumpkin also contains a lot of beta-carotene , the precursor of vitamin A, as well as minerals such as potassium, magnesium, iron and calcium. If you are otherwise on a low-fiber diet, the high amount of fiber in the pumpkin could initially cause digestive problems such as gas, flatulence, cramps, constipation or diarrhea. It is better to increase your fiber intake slowly and remember to drink a lot, as the fiber binds water.

Usually pumpkin is well tolerated and even helpful for diarrhea. An exception are, of course, poisonous pumpkins or pumpkin dishes: If a pumpkin (and the same applies to other cucurbits such as zucchini and cucumber!) Contains bitter substances called cucurbitacins , just a few bites can lead to food poisoning, serious intestinal damage and in extreme cases even death . Therefore, you should consult a doctor immediately if you experience symptoms after eating pumpkin, cucumber or zucchini.

This is how pumpkin poisoning manifests itself

Symptoms of cucurbitacin poisoning include, for example:

  • nausea
  • Vomit
  • diarrhea
  • stomach pain
  • dizziness
  • In rare cases, hair loss (usually one to several weeks after consumption)

Plants make cucurbitacins to protect themselves from pests. These bitter substances have long been bred from our local vegetables . However, pumpkins can also contain cucurbitacins in exceptional cases, for example if they have crossed with wild plants or ornamental pumpkins or if they mutate through stress reactions (intense heat, extreme drought) and reactivate the formation of cucurbitacin. Pumpkins from the supermarket are generally less dangerous than pumpkins from your own garden. Hobby gardeners in particular should therefore be careful.

A simple test reveals poisonous pumpkins

You can recognize a poisonous pumpkin by its bitter taste . It’s best to try a small piece before preparation. If it tastes bitter, please do not consume the pumpkin raw or cooked, but dispose of it. Since even a few bites can cause cucurbitacin poisoning, you should spit out even slightly bitter pumpkin dishes immediately. Then you usually don’t have to worry about any symptoms of poisoning .

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Eating an unripe pumpkin is also not advisable. Although this is not poisonous per se, it is definitely inedible. You can recognize a ripe pumpkin by the fact that its stem is lignified .

For most people, this test works very well. However, there are people who can hardly or not at all perceive the bitter or the bitter taste . As a rule, this is known to those affected. So if you really have difficulty noticing bitter, ask someone else to do the taste test for you. You can test your taste buds with Campari or another bitter drink like bitter green tea .

Pumpkins are healthy and tasty, but they can also be dangerous.

Where does diarrhea come from after eating pumpkin soup?

The following applies to pumpkin soup – as to all pumpkin dishes or products: if it tastes bitter, spit it out immediately. If you haven’t noticed bitterness but have diarrhea after consuming leftover pumpkin soup, germs could be to blame. Because as soon as the soup reaches room temperature, bacteria form . So it is best not to leave soup to stand for several hours without refrigeration.

Pumpkin diarrhea: are toxins or intolerance to blame?

The causes of diarrhea after eating pumpkin are diverse, so you should consult a doctor if symptoms are frequent or persistent. However, it is unlikely that your diarrhea is an allergic reaction to pumpkin. You may suffer from an intolerance to salicylic acid or its salts , the salicylates. They can be found in many foods, but also in cosmetics and medicines. Such intolerance usually manifests itself in the digestive tract as flatulence, abdominal pain or diarrhea , but the symptoms can also resemble an allergy.

Another possibility for diarrhea from pumpkin dishes is a poison called cucurbitacin , which can develop in cucurbits such as pumpkin, cucumber, or zucchini. It’s best to try a small piece before preparation. You should spit out even a slightly bitter bite immediately, then you usually do not have to worry about poisoning. If you have eaten bitter gourd and develop symptoms of intoxication such as nausea, vomiting or dizziness , you should consult a doctor immediately.

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