severe stomach pain

Started by msprior01, July 01, 2012, 01:21:55 PM

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Does anyone have allergies to: wood ear mushrooms, black mushrooms, hoisin sauce ,duck (product of any kind, even fat used to fry french fries in Quebec),  or salmon?

I occasionally have severe, almost unbearable stomach pain (true stomach pain, not intestinal, and not gas) which waxes and wanes over periods of hours (much like labor pain waves). It goes up and down, lowest point being discomfort, peaking at gnawing but acute pain. I never vomit or have diarrhea with it. It is incapacitating, and I can't even talk during the worst.  It can begin from one to a couple of hours after I eat some types of chinese food, and always after salmon.  I can eat most other fish (mainly white.e.g. cod,halibut, grouper, etc.), but salmon causes terrible pain. I used to eat salmon regularly, then suddenly couldn't. I can eat all other shellfish and mollusks with no pain. Has anybody ever heard of a newly developed allergy to some types of fish, again, not shellfish?
I think I am allergic to duck, since I've eaten it in pate or truffle mousse and gotten very sick afterwards. Though I avoid duck, I recently had a bout of horrific pain after eating a meal of steak and fries, the latter cooked in duck fat (unbeknownst to me till later).  Is this something anyone else has ever heard of? 
As for chinese food, I usually avoid it, since I've had pain after consuming it. Even so, if I do try it, I make sure it has no msg. I've recently tried a couple of mixed veggie, pork dishes with no pain. However, I've eaten mu shoo pork twice (different restaurants), and had pain so terrible that I once went to the er. I was the only one in my family who got sick from the shared dish, so the food wasn't spoiled. I asked for the ingredient list for this dish. Assuming they told me the complete list, I have eaten everything on it, cabbage, pork, onions, carrots, shiitake mush., hoisin sce.., wheat.  Basically all but the wood ear mushrooms and black mushrooms she listed.
Ok, before anyone suggests soy, as in soy sauce, I'm Korean. Believe me, I've eaten it all my life and continue to do so w/o issues.  During these episodes, I've tried every remedy, e.g.:
pepto., antacids, including zantac, pepcid, tums/rolaids, milk of mag., gax-x (simethicone), and even self-induced vomiting to empty stomach. Even tramadol (ultracet, prescribed for different illness) at its max dose, has not worked. I've just had to ride it out. 
The reason I am asking, is that I'm trying to find out if a) any of these are known allergens to anyone else, and b)I'd like to cook a Thai dish which calls for oyster sauce, which I don't know if it contains any of the problematic elements above. I normally avoid all of the above list, if I'm able.
Sorry for such a long ramble, but thanks for any replies.


Have you ever been evaluated for gall bladder problems?

The kind of pain (and location) that you're describing, in the absense of any other allergic symptoms, seems more typical of something else (though it's possible to have food allergy manifest this way, it would be unusual).

Particularly your list of foods, which includes things which would be (aside from salmon) really unusual allergens in someone with no specific history of food allergy.

Intolerance?  Maybe.  If it were food allergy with such localized symptoms, either an antihistamine that blocks both H1 and H2 receptors should help significantly, and certainly the Zantac should have.

As for those things being food allergens-- well, sure.  There is probably no food to which someone, somewhere is not truly allergic.  It's absolutely possible to be allergic to some specific foods (wood ear mushrooms and not any others, for example, or ONLY salmon among fishes).

  The more pertinent question is... are you allergic to it?  Are there any foods that you never eat, and pretty much have never eaten out of a deep and unusual aversion?  That might provide some clues for us.  What kind of diet do you typically eat?  Do you eat out much? 

Do you have any other indicators of being an 'atopic' person?  That is, asthma, eczema, or hay fever?

If so, then I strongly encourage you to seek out a good allergist with experience treating patients with food allergy (not all allergists are competent FOOD allergy docs) so that you can have professional help working through your history.

That won't help if this is a problem of another nature entirely, though-- and a problem with fatty/rich foods would suggest that gall bladder might be a great place to start with your regular doc. 
Resistance isn't futile.  It's voltage divided by current. 

Western U.S.


Sulfites is something to consider given what you listed. Dried fungus including wood ear, shiitake, is usually listed with sulfites on the package that most people wouldn't think to pass on to you as an "ingredient" and certainly it can be in sauces or an ingredient that is used in a prepared sauce or marinade. I also know sulfites can cause reactions, bad ones, and some people on this board deal with them.

I'd lay off sauces with multiple ingredients likely to have sulfites for a while but keep using soy sauce. There shouldn't be any sulfites in the major soy sauce brands.


I was going to say gall bladder too - salmon and duck are both very high in fat, and the other foods you are describing could be eaten in the context of a high-fat meal. 

How are you with other fatty foods?

Good luck!
"Speak out against the madness" - David Crosby


Thanks for chiming in. I see the connection you make, i.e. gall bladder. I think I'm fine with other fatty foods.  I love to cook, and though mostly healthy choices (no references to the corp.), I occasionally whip up creme based sauces such as bearnaise, or home made real whipped cream...etc.  I admit to the very, very occasional (once yearly?) Fish n' Chips, with no problems.  I really wish it were my gall bladder, though. It would simplify making food choices.



I wouldn't discount the gall bladder because you can eat other fatty foods.  Not everything set mine off but when it was stressed egads, the pain.  They honestly thought I had ruptured a disc when I was pregnant with my daughter.  It took a fateful trip to the ER after a week of hell (which had involved a trip to L&D and several trips to the drs office, transfusions of fluids, etc) and the admitting nurse told me I shouldn't plan to leave with my gall bladder.  Three surgeries later (I had a trapped stone that had to be shunted and then the shunt removed, plus having my gall bladder out surgically - not fun when 5mo pregnant) and I left the hospital with none of the issues that had plagued me for roughly 10 years.  Two years later, still no recurring issues of pain (though the occassional restroom issues when I do eat certain high fat foods, not all, just specific ones).
DS1 - Wheat, rye, barley and egg
DS2 - peanuts
DD -  tree nuts, soy and sunflower
Me - bananas, eggplant, many drugs
Southeast USA


I agree with the others.  It's kind of like the old saying - when you hear hoofbeats think horses not zebras.  An allergy to that specific set of foods would be like looking for the zebras - not impossible, but there may be a more likely explanation.
DS - peanut, tree nut, milk, eggs, corn, soy, several meds, many environmentals. Finally back on Xolair!
DD - mystery anaphylaxis, shellfish.
DH - banana/avocado, aspirin.  Asthma.
Me - peanut, tree nut, shellfish, banana/avocado/latex,  some meds.


I get the same stomack pain when I eat thai spring roles.  I think the reason is that they use oyster sauce.. I get ill when I eat oysters.
It's some kind of allergic reaction.
Best regards


I believe it's the cloud ear mushrooms or black fungus, especially since you've had it after eating Mu Shu pork.  I am typing this between waves of excruciating stomach pain, and other unpleasant symptoms requiring trips to the bathroom.  I ate one of my son's vegetable spring rolls at Pei Wei, not noticing that it had black mushroom in it.  This is the fourth time I have had this happen over the past 15 years or so, and every time it was after eating Mu Shu vegetables.  After the first couple times I caught on, and I don't eat out very much anymore anyway, but I was careless tonight.  The pain is unbelievable (and this is coming from someone who has given birth twice).  I also get vomiting, nausea, and eventually diarrhea, after which the pain abates.  I never thought of oyster sauce as being the culprit, and I still believe it's the mushrooms, because even regular mushrooms don't agree with me (but cause nothing like the "Alien" like stomach pain of the black mushrooms).


Hello. I get this too. If I eat any fish at all , salmon anchovies even a cm of my sons fish finger
I will end up with really bad pain right in centre of stomach. I have had blood tests, ultrasound for stones, breath test for pylori and am now seeing a gastrointerologist to try and figure it out.  The pain level depends on how much I've eaten it can out of no where last year?? Started noticing a pattern. Thought it was eggs too. So stopped both, after a while had a pce of salmon baked. Ended up in hospital over night after exploding from both ends in acute pain on shower floor. Not fun. Don't touch fish now.  But - the one thing that has helped is -> Slippery elm bark powder from health shop. Gone in 15 min !  Even tho I can live without fish, I'm more interested in what's going on in stomach so as not to goner a potential illness developing that could be bad later. They say alot of serious things start in the gut. !!  Good luck. Let us know if u figure it out.


Hi msprior01,
I serendipitously found this thread due to similar abdominal pains you are describing. I, too, am Korean. I am a 36 year old male, healthy, very physically active, that lives in Chicago, IL, USA. I, too, get similar mid-thoracic pains intermittantly (pains are inside the abdomen, just below the nipple line, several inches above the belly button), sometimes after cheap Chinese food, and other times just out of the blue. My pains feel like gas at first - causing me to belch a lot to try to relieve the pressure. It does not help. The pains wax and wane and gradually get more intense over 4-6 hours, until I am consumed in sweat, pain, and eventually go to the ER for observation/pain medication. This has been something I have suffered from since I was a kid. It wasn't until the past 6 years or so that I have taken active measures to figure out this problem.

I have been seen by 4 different gastroenterologists to try to diagnose this problem. The 3 times I was admitted to the hospital due to the intense pain, CT scans showed that my ileum (small bowel) was inflammed, almost to the point of obstruction. I was tested for Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, diverticulitis, and all were ruled out twice. I had an MRI of my abdomen, ultrasound of my gall bladder and liver, all showing a healthy abdomen.

Upon getting to my 4th GI specialist, instead of doing a colonoscopy (which I had done 3 times already, all retured negative), he decided to go down the other end and complete an EGD. The EGD showed that I had H. Pylori and an inflammed stomach. So I was treated with antibiotics to eradicate the H. Pylori (had a deep biopsy and breath test to confirm H. Pylori eradicated). So far, I have not had any symptoms, but that doesn't actually mean anything, as my flare ups tend to happen 1-2 years apart.

The thought of food allergies or esinophilic esophagitis came up in my research, so I decided to have this looked into further. I visited an allergist whom surprisingly diagnosed me with allergies to tree nuts, pitted fruits, and melon. This is significant because I am a vegetarian and eat a lot of tree nuts for protein. In fact, the bulk of my protein intake comes from tree nuts (I have since evolved to legumes/beans). This diagnosis only came about 2 months ago. So it is still new to me, and I am making adjustments at the moment. I have not had any abdominal pains since, but, again, it doesn't mean much because historically I go years between flare ups. Esinophils were ruled out in the pathology of my GI biopsies.

The interesting thing is the common variable of cheap Chinese food. When I would have these flare ups, it was almost always when eating at a specific fast food Chinese place when I was in college. There were no tree nuts in the food. I am not allergic to peanuts, so even the peanut allergy argument is ruled out. I am not allergic to mushrooms, nor seafood/shellfish. But the symptoms are the same.

If the other posters (Raquel, msprior01) can verify if they have actual confirmation from an allergist that they are allergic to these food items, that would help me understand that regardless of the specific food, the pains that result manifest similarly GI-wise.

Thanks everyone.


allergist whom surprisingly diagnosed me with allergies to tree nuts, pitted fruits, and melon.

If you are truly allergic to any or all of those foods, this diagnosis would NOT have come as a 'surprise' to you, given your diet.

What method did your physician use to diagnose your food allergies? 

Please be aware that skin tests can yield false positives as much as 30-50% of the time, and blood tests, similarly, are only about 50% accurate in the absence of specific reaction history-- which you lack.  You can't really eat an allergen without reacting to it on a semi-regular basis, or it's not something you're actually allergic to, if you see what I mean.

For example:  I am allergic to shellfish.  I developed this allergy as an adult, out of the blue.  I initially thought that I had "food poisoning" of some kind, which was really weird since I was the only person who got sick and everyone ate MORE shrimp than I had... but I was in such pain that I wanted to die, and at one point was afraid that I would.

I have never again knowingly consumed shrimp.  I have reacted to foods which were cross-contaminated with them, however, and I know that I am allergic.  Shrimp smells like death to me now.

Contrast that with another item that I once had reason to think I might be allergic to-- bananas.  I broke out in hives once after eating a banana.  I have no real idea why-- and it was a while before I was brave enough to test that one out by trying it again.

If I were "tested" for food allergies, however, heaven only knows what would turn up.  As far as I'm aware, I only have clinical allergies to crustaceans and citrus fruits, and it's possible that the latter is related instead to a pollen allergy... but I'm a highly atopic person.  I'm guessing that I'd probably have ten or more "food allergies" that I don't actually have.  If you see what I mean.

If you've been tested for EE and it's been ruled out, I'd be VERY suspicious that your food allergies are only false positives.  Did you ever have any reason-- other than your attacks of pain fairly infrequently-- to think that you had allergies to those particular foods?  ANY other kinds of symptoms?  Do you happen to have a ragweed allergy, by any chance?  (That one is associated with melon sensitivity at some times of the year, because the pollen is cross-reactive with some melons.)  A birch pollen allergy? (Stone fruits such as peaches, pears, plums, cherries, and even apples are associated with that pollen in a cross-reactive manner, as are almonds, at least rarely).

You might take a look at Oral Allergy Syndrome and see if that might explain your recent food allergy diagnoses, particularly if you have bad pollen allergies to birch and ragweed and were skin tested.

Resistance isn't futile.  It's voltage divided by current. 

Western U.S.


I have had stomach cramps (severe almost unbearable acute) pain very similar to just you described.  I discovered that it develops whenever I consume Shiitake mushrooms even in very small amounts. I used to be able to eat all types of mushrooms without any problems including Shiitake.  My sensitivity to shiitake mushrooms started three years ago (age 58) an it took almost 18 months to find the reason for it.  Ever since, I try to stay away from shiitake. 

It is amazing that you suddenly cannot tolerate the food that you occasionally could consume with no problem.

Kevin Peryea

Wood Ear Mushrooms are the problem for me.

I have had this same reaction, severe stomach cramps... onset within 30-60 minutes of eating, lasting 6-8 hours, culminating in diarrhea usually.  I have no known food allergies and generally can stomach most anything.  Traveled the world and try lots of things...  However my go to Chinese restaurant near work has a delicious chicken/pork with spicy garlic sauce that ruined my afternoon twice.  I quit eating it after the second time and considered that the strange looking black bits in it might be the issue.  Reasoning was that I regularly eat other dishes there and that was the only item that is not consistently in my other go to options.   The theory was further confirmed last night when I had a very nice Ramen bowl at a new place nearby.   I love Ramen and this one was great but 3/4 of the way through it I realized the same black noodle looking things were in it.   We had walked there ~15 minutes each way, and the symptoms hit before I got home.  All the other ingredients are common to Ramen that I have had many times without problems, the Wood ear were the only anomaly.  This is evidence enough for me to stay away from them.

Note: I eat many other types of mushrooms with no problems


Hi there,
I know this is a really old thread, but if anyone every found any info on this that would be really really great.
I have the exact same symptoms, but caused by mostly completely different foods. I get it from most mushrooms which is how I discovered this thread, but I have no issue with fats/oils or salmon. I get it from avocado (which I guess is highly fatty...) but also if I have fresh vegetables such as cucumbers, lettuce, spinach, and broccoli. I also get it from certain fruits such as pineapples, bananas, and butternut squash. Tofu also seems to cause it.
The strangest thing is that if the veg has been preserved or frozen for a long period of time (like frozen veg in a supermarket) then it seems to be absolutely fine and I get no pain. Same with pickles vs cucumber. I don't understand why this happens, especially because when I was younger I never had this issue and it started developing slowly, becoming more and more painful and lasting with each episode when I was around 14 and went on a clean-eating diet to lose weight.
At first I thought it was adjusting to all the veg because I had been a terribly unhealthy eater for a long time before that. Then when it started happening with more and more foods I got a bunch of testing done - no gallbladder issues, no ulcers, no colitis or Crohns or anything. Turns out I have celiac disease, but it was silent celiac and was not causing any symptoms at the time, and the problems with those aforementioned foods still happen in a really really cripplingly painful way 5 years after going gluten-free with a healed gut.

As the OP mention, it is like a deep gnawing pain at it's lowest point but gets more and more painful until I am literally crying in pain or barely conscious and cannot speak or breath much it hurts so badly. Then it goes away briefly to become a more mild pain, but eventually grows to agony again. I have no vomiting, gas, or diarrhoea. It starts usually about 20 minutes after eating the food, and depending on how much of it I eat and how badly the specific food triggers the reaction, it can last anywhere from 2.5 hours to 8 hours with mild cramping and smaller waves rippling out for up to 16 hours later.

I used to think it might be psychosomatic, but many times it has happened when I've eaten one of the foods without realising, or has been so painful that I have woken up crying with pain when the mixture of pain medication and antihistamines has worn off 4 hours later.

It gets so bad I usually consider calling an ambulance, but years of experience has taught me that it will go away and I will just have to suffer until then.
I also appear to get a distended abdomen where my stomach and intestines would be, and the pain starts there but soon it is my whole sides, back, chest, and even shoulders that are gripped with the pain.
The only thing that takes the edge of is a large dose of paracetamol and codeine, and for some reason I think that antihistamines help but I could be mistaken. Even then the pain is still at least at a 5 or a 6, but I can at least bare it without becoming completely incapacitated and hysterical with pain.

Things I have thought of being the cause might be related to a mild pollen/grass allergy/hay fever, or a topical nickel/metal allergy that causes hives when I wear nickel/copper/cheap metal jewellery. Otherwise maybe some kind of undiscovered inability to process certain biological things or bacteria or nutrients that would be in recently live plants???
Cooking them doesn't work, and I have taken a great deal of probiotics and that doesn't work either. Neither does juicing them, and neither does switching to organic.

This really impacts my ability to eat healthily or find things I can eat when not at home, and is very inconvenient at the least and almost traumatic at it's worst, for both myself and others.
My boyfriend holding me and feeling totally helping while I screamed and cried in pain at 2:30 in the morning after cooking a delicious risotto that contained mushrooms stands out as one of those times.

Please, if you can help me, that would be life-changing.


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