An egg intolerance is a non-life-threatening adverse response to the consumption of eggs. It typically causes gastrointestinal upset symptoms, such as bloating and diarrhea.

You might have an intolerance to the egg white, yolk, or both.

In some cases, an intolerance can last for years, while some people can have problems with eggs for life. It can also occur at any age.

Talk with a doctor if you think you or your child has a sensitivity to eggs so they can rule out allergies and help offer tips to manage.

An intolerance to eggs means your body adversely reacts to this particular food. It’s also possible to have multiple food sensitivities, such as reactions to gluten, dairy, and soy.

An egg intolerance differs from an egg allergy, which is due to an immune reaction to egg proteins.

With an egg allergy, your immune system reacts by attacking substances your body can’t tolerate. Right after you eat eggs, you might notice symptoms such as itchy rashes and swelling, especially around your face and throat.

Severe egg allergies can trigger a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis, which is a life threatening event that can stop breathing and consciousness.

An egg intolerance doesn’t cause allergy symptoms or anaphylaxis. You’ll still be able to tell you have a sensitivity to eggs, though, based on the symptoms you experience after eating them.

The symptoms of an egg intolerance primarily affect your gastrointestinal system. So, if you have a sensitivity to eggs, you could experience one or more of the following:

It’s also possible to feel headaches or a general sense of fogginess. Symptoms of a food allergy are usually immediate, while an intolerance can occur up to several hours or days later.

Since babies and young children have more difficulty articulating food sensitivity symptoms, you may be worried if you notice your child has bowel changes or if they have an upset stomach after eating eggs.

Allergies are arguably easier to diagnose due to the multiple forms of testing, such as blood and skin prick tests.

Some alternative or integrative practitioners may offer food sensitivity tests by looking for antibodies in the blood, but these are controversial and often not covered by insurance.

You may also be able to find a DNA kit online to help detect food sensitivities, but such tests may not be as accurate.

A perhaps more affordable — and accurate — way is to track your symptoms after eating eggs in a food diary. Detail is important here, as food intolerance symptoms aren’t always immediate.

You might also want to note how long your symptoms last. After several weeks, your doctor can review this to help determine whether you have a food intolerance.

The most effective egg intolerance treatment is to avoid eggs as much as possible.

Your doctor may recommend an elimination diet, in which you essentially avoid eggs for up to 6 weeks at a time. You may then see how you feel and decide whether you want to gradually add eggs back into your diet.

Aside from whole eggs or egg whites, you’ll also want to avoid dishes cooked with eggs. When eating out, ask if any dishes contain eggs to help prevent possible reactions after your meal.

It’s also possible for children to grow out of an egg intolerance. Most children also outgrow egg allergies, with an estimated 70% getting over them by age 16.

An egg intolerance doesn’t mean you’ll develop an egg allergy.

Aside from the symptoms endured after eating eggs, there’s also a risk of missing key nutrients that eggs provide. These include:

If you aren’t able to have eggs at least a couple of times a week, talk with your doctor about whether you’re low in these key nutrients. You may need to incorporate other foods or supplements to prevent nutritional deficiencies.

On the flip side, an egg allergy is much more dangerous. This is why it’s important to make sure that you have an egg intolerance and not an allergy, just in case you accidentally consume eggs and egg products.

You can tell the difference between the two by the symptoms. While an allergy can cause diarrhea and other symptoms of stomach upset, an allergic reaction to eggs can also cause breathing difficulties and a drop in blood pressure.

An egg intolerance can be unpleasant, but the most effective way to alleviate symptoms is by practicing an elimination diet. Your reactions to foods can also change over time, especially through adulthood.

Egg allergies, on the other hand, are extremely dangerous, especially in children. Call your doctor if you think your child has a food allergy. Any anaphylactic symptoms require emergency medical care.