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"Is it possible to lose the ability to digest beef suddenly?"

ZocdocAnswersIs it possible to lose the ability to digest beef suddenly?


I'm a 33 year old woman that has suddenly lost the ability to consume beef without adverse effects in the previous year or so. I present with GI discomfort/bloating, soft stool (think pudding) and general loss of appetite after consuming a reasonable (8oz) portion of beef (and not chicken or fish).


Digestive problems can be very frustrating, especially when they appear suddenly without any prior difficulties. To answer your specific question, there is not really a specific disease or condition that would cause you to have trouble only with beef, but your symptoms sound problematic enough that it would very much be worth seeing your primary care physician or possibly a gastroenterologist to further evaluate. There is a wide range of gastroenterology conditions that can cause the symptoms you are describing (GI discomfort, bloating, changes in stool). A physician can do a more thorough history and try to identify any other triggers that may be contributing to your symptoms.

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Irritable bowel syndrome and irritable bowel disease (includes things like Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis) can both cause some of the symptoms your describe. Your doctor will want to explore your dietary habits in more detail to try and find out if any other foods (possibly those eaten with beef) may also be triggering your symptoms. It will be important to determine whether you are having any blood in your stool, as this can sometimes indicate other changes in the GI tract. In addition, any family history of GI symptoms will also be an important part of an initial evaluation. It is also possible that you may have acquired an intestinal parasite, and a very simple evaluation of your stool can help rule this out. While you wait to see a physician it will likely be very helpful to keep a log of your digestive difficulties (when, how often, after eating what foods) as this may help you and your doctor further identify 'trigger foods' for your difficulties. And in the meantime, if you know that beef bothers you, I would stay away from eating it!

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