How Do You Know If Your Upset Stomach Is Really Food Poisoning (or Something Else)?

The short answer from a gastroenterologist
Woman suffering from food poisoning lying down on couch

Q: If I eat something and I feel sick to my stomach, how do I know it’s food poisoning vs. something else with similar symptoms?

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A: That can be kind of tricky. Many times, a lot of different factors can cause a little bit of upset, nervous or sick stomach.

Usually, things that aren’t serious will just come and go. So if you have a little bit of what we call ‘my stomach’s not feeling right’ ― as long as it’s short-lived, low-intensity and you get better on your own, then it’s not anything to panic about.

That being said, no one knows your body better than yourself. If you realize something’s definitely off (you’ve got fevers, chills, horrible nausea, vomiting, terrible diarrhea) and you’ve eaten a questionable item, you might want to get seen by your physician and make sure you’re doing OK.

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― Gastroenterologist Christine Lee, MD

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