Hot sauce ---> ER visit: what could they do for him?

Video here, in which a man ingests injudicious amounts of increasingly hotter hot sauces. At around 9:00 in the video, he’s in the ER, explaining to the camera about the several abdominal pain he’s experiencing; later on at home, he speaks of how the pain moved over time as the hot sauce moved downstream through his GI tract.

OK, so he went to the ER complaining of severe abdominal pain, and informing the staff there that he’d eaten a bunch of Very Hot sauce. What might they have done to treat him?

IANAD, but I would say along the lines of how other caustic ingestion is treated.

Except that capsaicin isn’t caustic.

Probably all they were able to do was to hasten the sauce’s travels through his innards, and maybe feed him oily foods to help dissolve any residue.

Capsaicin’s mode of action on the mammalian body is pretty interesting, and as you say, is not associated with actual burning, acidic or caustic…

Ice cream and cold milk help a lot as milk is an oil-in-water emulsion and the oil dissolves the capsaicin and help carry it through the body…

Capsaicin is also a natural laxative, so they might have given him milk and told him to stay close to the bathroom…which brings up the last fun capsaicin fact - it’s not broken down in the digestive process and comes out as hot as it goes in…

I love hot sauces, I grow lots of hot peppers, I cook with them, but when I over-partake and run for the bath room, Mrs. White always says, “Serves you right…”

Doesn’t capsaicin stimulate the pain nerves without doing actual damage? So it’s not going to kill him…it’s just going to make him WISH he were dead.

In fact capsaicin cream/gel is sometimes used to treat nerve pain on the skin–the burning/stimulation counters the nerve misfires in a way I don’t really understand, though I used to use capsaicin cream for this purpose.

Yes, exactly, capsaicin stimulates pain nerves to experience burning, it doesn’t actually burn anything, yeah, it won’t kill him, but he’s gonna be in serious pain when it comes out…

This guy started hallucinating while eating spicy curry. What’s the mechanism behind that? I assume the effects would simply wear off?

I like those super-spicy curries, but have never experienced any alteration in consciousness. Maybe I’ve been eating in the wrong restaurants?

To put it another way, I find them delicious, but my mind has never actually been blown :slight_smile:

(I have noticed the “endorphin” effect the diner mentions.)

You have two “hot pain” receptors in your nervous system, called TRPV1 and TRPV2. TRPV1 turns on at about 45 deg C, and TRPV2 turns on at about 50 deg C. You start getting actual tissue damage around 50 deg C.

Capsaicin happens to activate the TRPV1 pain receptors.

Capsaicin does not itself cause any tissue damage, in that it doesn’t cause a chemical burn or anything like that. However, it can cause tissue swelling due to your body reacting to what it thinks is burn damage.

The bird equivalent of TRPV1 doesn’t respond to capsaicin, so birds can eat hot peppers and other things containing capsaicin and they don’t feel the heat pain from it.

I’ve always heard that, but despite eating my share of hot-peppery foods, I’ve never experienced any subsequent hot-peppery burning while sitting on the toilet. There must be some digestive breakdown going on. Or maybe dilution with all the non-peppery side dishes on my plate? :confused:

Oversharing warning: I spent last Summer with a colostomy bag, and the only thing I miss is consequence-free hot pepper/sauce/spicy foods eating.

Same here. Or at least it doesn’t hurt as much as when I ate it in the first place. :slight_smile: It’s probably a combination of dilution with other foods, dissolving in oils, as well as being spread out through the digestive tract so it doesn’t all come out in one “session.”

Most likely.
Other option is you have no living heat pain receptors in your lower body :slight_smile:

I never remember to dilute with any countering side dishes, and pay for it massively later, all the way through the large intestine.

I want to say I’ve felt a burning sensation in the stomach after eating too many super-hot chillies. Has anyone experienced this? It did not bother me so much later, though, after everything got digested.

Probably this. It’s why I always order lassi with my vindaloo. The dairy portion of the lassi dilutes the capsaicin.

I find that the burning sensation in the stomach makes spicy foods seem more filling than a similar volume of bland food.


Does this mean that just before starting a hot-sauce-drinking contest … quickly downing a pint of Ben & Jerry’s is a good strategic move? :smiley:

I’ve never been able to determine when what I eat will burn coming out of my ass. Sometimes it’s obvious, because I ate a lot of hot food and it burns the next day. Other times it’s not- I’ve had times when I’ve eaten a bunch of hot food and had no issue as it came out, and other times I’ll have had something like a bag of seemingly mild jalapeno chips with a non-spicy sandwich, and it feels like my butt has turned into Kilauea the next day. Can’t say that I’ve had a non-spicy in any way meal that’s burned on the way out though.

This is so weird. I just happened to watch this very same video a couple of weeks ago.