Food Poisoning and Diarrhea (you have been warned)

A friend of mine will no longer eat at a certain cafe, even though she agrees the food is good and the prices quite reasonable, because “Every time I eat there, an hour later my butt’s chained to the toilet.” Followed by lots of unappetizing speculation about the cleanliness of the kitchen…

Is it possible to get loose bowels from food poisoning only an hour after eating? And if so, how, when it takes everything else hours to move through the system?

You can not get loose bowels a mere one hour after eating from food poisoning.

You can, however, achieve this effect with a food allergy. Although there are usually other symptoms severe enough to put you in the hospital if the running trots happen that quick.

But maybe a doctor will be along with more and better information.

Yes you can.

COMMONLY ENCOUNTERED FOOD POISONINGS AND SYMPTOMS

(Others are listed there as well, those are just the quickest)

That’s weird. I have the same problem when I eat at a certain fast food chain (no, not Taco Bell). I never suspected food poisoning, more like just something in their food makes me have diarrhea within an hour of eating. Food poisoning has never been a thought though, because my daughter and boyfriend can eat there with no problems at all.

While food poisoning can have such a rapid onset (as so ably pointed out by previous posters), a more likely reason is a personal sensitivity to certain ingredients used there.

Staph and other food poisonings with rapid onsets tend to also be accompanied by severe explosive vomiting, and the general “I really want to die now” feeling.

QtM, MD

Once I was at a conference and had breakfast down in the expensive hotel restuarant. I remember what I ate: a waffle and a sausage link. Ten minutes after the meal, I started feeling chills and abdominal pain. Then the nausea came. I ran out of the conference room all the way up to my hotel room, where I spent the remainder of the day throwing up. My stomach hurt so much I thought I was going to die. I kept thinking about how well I had felt that morning, before breakfast.

I figured it wasn’t the breakfast that caused the illness, but it must have triggered a reaction that had been in the making since the night before, when I had eaten at McDonald’s.

Sometimes, certain oils and greases give me similar symptoms. I don’t know exactly which ones, but it seems to be associated with deep fried foods.

From my experience in food service industry, (decades), it’s unlikely, (but not impossible), that you’d get food poisoning everytime that you went into the same restaurant. More often than not, these kinds of incidences are the results of flukes and accidents. The most horribly, filthy place I ever worked never had any trouble. The only place that I’ve ever heard about there being a complaint was a very clean corporate store. The place got a 98 out of 100 in a surprise corporate inspection, (much more rigorous than a health inspection). The sample of sauce that we had to send to be tested, came back negative. So apparently he got his tummy troubles somewhere else. But, the point is taht this is the only incident that I’ve had any first hand experience w/, (from that side of the counter), despite years in the industry in several states, including CA and TX.

As a rule of thumb, if you only think you have food poisoning, you don’t. When you have food poisoning, you don’t have a question about it.

Though, appendicitis can seem like food poisoning. Be aware of that.

"Once I was at a conference and had breakfast down in the expensive hotel restuarant. I remember what I ate: a waffle and a sausage link. Ten minutes after the meal, I started feeling chills and abdominal pain. Then the nausea came. I ran out of the conference room all the way up to my hotel room, where I spent the remainder of the day throwing up. My stomach hurt so much I thought I was going to die. I kept thinking about how well I had felt that morning, before breakfast.

I figured it wasn’t the breakfast that caused the illness, but it must have triggered a reaction that had been in the making since the night before, when I had eaten at McDonald’s."

How do YOU spell “denial”? Food poisoning (as in getting sick from toxins already in the food) can take place almost immediately.

There are two major types of food poisoning, generally speaking - intoxication and infection. Intoxication is when the food has had bacteria growing in it for a while, and the bacteria happens to be of a type that secretes toxic proteins. By the time you eat the food, it has a nice high level of toxins, and you get sick very quickly, typically within a few hours.

Infection is when you eat live bacteria that then set up house in your digestive tract. Only then do they start doing whatever they do to make you sick. So it typically takes a little longer to get sick than with intoxication.

If she is the only person with these symptoms, she should certainly avoid eating there, even though the kitchen may well be very clean. For the reasons above.

Some foods just give some people diarrhea. I’ve got a big old list of things that will send me to the pooper within minutes (although for me it is a one-shot deal, and not really a problem at all). It is probably something that your friend always orders at that cafe, or the combination of spices and oils they use, that is triggering that raction.

If your friend does not consume a lot of butter or other dairy products, it is possible that a meal heavy in such ingredients might contribute to the discomfort they experienced.

It is unlikely that your friend is suffering from food poisoning. Were they encountering such tainted food every single time they ate there, many other diners would be experiencing the same symptoms as well. Typically, restaurants with that sort of track record rapidly acquire a padlock on the door and a sign hung from it reading (in Norwegian);

CLOSED BY ORDER OF THE HEALTH DEPARTMENT
[lame Norwegian accent]

Purty dirty, yah!

[/lame Norwegian accent]

So, to sum up: It’s possible my friend’s symptoms are real, but if so she’s suffering from some sort of sensitivity to something in the food, and not food poisoning, correct?

It’s still spooky to know that you can get sick that fast (I was half-expecting to hear “it’s psychosomatic”), but it’s good to know that’s not what’s happening here. The rest of us can continue to indulge!

Personally I get 3 completely different types of stomach sickness from food I have eaten

1—relatively mild and always happens within 2 to 4 hours after eating. Quick bout with diarrhea—no lasting affects. Ready for a steak dinner.

2—is the killer. Happens almost exactly 12 hours after eating something bad. Terrible stomach cramps and awful diarrhea lasting for a couple days, and feel like hell for a couple days after that and have almost no appetite. Feel OK after about a week.

I assume there are two types of food poisoning that causes that difference.

(That was supposed to be 2, not 3, types of food poisoning. Just a simple typo. Would edit it out but can’t seem to be able to do that on this forum.)

As others have pointed out, you can definitely have effects from food poisoning in a few hours.

My brother in law was visiting from Japan and INSISTED on eating fish from a local Japanese grocery store raw. I tried to warn him but he would not listen. Within 90 minutes he was vomiting. I never quite realized what was meant by “projectile” vomiting until I saw this episode. His body was bound and determined to remove any trace of the offending substance by any means necessary.

I now completely believe stories of people fracturing ribs from vomiting. It was that severe.