You Should Stop Eating Spicy Food If This Happens To You

Although spicy food is often healthy and delicious, eating it can cause distressing gastrointestinal symptoms for some people (via Byrdie). While digestive reactions to spicy food vary from person to person, people with gastrointestinal disorders like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) tend to be more sensitive to spicy foods, which can aggravate the digestive system and cause a flare-up.

"If you already have reflux or IBS, then typically, spicy foods can cause you to feel more uncomfortable and kick-start your usual symptoms; for example, frequent trips to the bathroom," Brigitte Zeitlin, a registered dietitian, told Byrdie. Some of these symptoms include bloating, gas, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. If you have IBS or IBD, you won't necessarily have a negative reaction to spicy food — you might just be more susceptible to experiencing digestive issues than others. That said, Byrdie cautions that it's possible the spicy element of a given meal isn't what's actually triggering the digestive issues — it could be another part of the meal, like excess fat content.

The side effects of eating spicy food

Though some people are more susceptible, spicy food can cause a range of negative side effects for anyone (via Insider). One common side effect of eating spicy food is heartburn. Heartburn is a burning feeling in your chest that occurs when gastric acid goes back up your esophagus. This is often triggered by capsaicin — an active component of chili peppers that is fairly prevalent in spicy foods. Capsaicin can slow down your digestion, causing food to stay in your stomach longer, which may lead to heartburn.

Eating spicy food can also cause your skin to break out. That's because spicy food can increase your body temperature, causing you to sweat and release oils in your skin. If dirt and bacteria gets trapped in these oils, you may experience an acne breakout. 

In addition, eating spicy may contribute to acute gastritis — a condition involving the inflammation of the stomach lining. This is often the result of eating spicy or acidic foods. Symptoms of acute gastritis include nausea, vomiting, and fullness in the stomach. If you experience any of these side effects, you may want to cut back or eliminate spicy foods from your diet.