Stomach Pain After Eating in Mexico
A vacation in Mexico can be exciting opportunity to explore a beautiful country, speak Spanish and try out new foods. But a vacation in Mexico also requires taking some precautions, because traveling to any foreign country could give you a stomachache. If you plan to visit Mexico, some basic steps can help you stay well and enjoy your trip.
When you travel to Mexico, your body must adapt to different digestive-system bacteria, which can cause stomach pain and diarrhea. This bacteria may not be harmful, but because you aren't used to them, they may make you sick. This condition can occur when you're traveling to any foreign country. Many people worry that they've eaten contaminated food, but once you've adapted to your new surroundings, you will feel better.
Most of the food you encounter in Mexico is likely safe, but some of it may cause stomach pain above and beyond simple traveler's diarrhea. For example, ceviche, a common seafood meal in many parts of Mexico, can harbor bacteria that cause food poisoning. Avoid any meat or fish dishes that aren't thoroughly cooked. Dairy products aren't always pasteurized so ask the restaurant staff, or look at the food labels before eating cheese or milk. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends skipping food sold by street vendors and always washing your hands before eating or drinking. Choose restaurants that look clean, and try not to go overboard on local cuisine, which your digestive system may not be prepared for.
Drinking water can be problematic in many countries. Water cleanliness standards may not always be good, and even if it is clean, your body may not be used to its components. If you drink water with your meals, you may have difficulty discerning whether the water or the food made you uncomfortable. Stick with bottled water, and avoid drinks that may have unclean water in them, such as ice cubes or mixed drinks. Wash fresh fruits and vegetables with clean water before peeling or eating them to avoid ingesting any harmful bacteria. Ask the concierge at your hotel for recommendations of clean and safe places to eat and drink.
If you do find yourself suffering from stomach pain while you're in Mexico, being prepared can ease symptoms and make your trip more enjoyable. Carry an anti-diarrhea medication with you, and talk with your doctor before you leave home about an appropriate antibiotic that you can take, should you become ill. If pain is severe or accompanied by fever or chills or persists for more than three days, seek medical attention. Ask for a good hospital or medical clinic referral from your physician.
Eliza Martinez has written for print and online publications. She covers a variety of topics, including parenting, nutrition, mental health, gardening, food and crafts. Martinez holds a master's degree in psychology.