RAMEN POOPS

This evening I had dinner with two friends. One of them wanted to go to a ramen place downtown. I was fine with that since I quite fond of noodles and soup of all forms. I did warn him though that the last five or six times I’ve had ramen, I’ve had to poop with varying levels of urgency within two hours of eating it.

I’m not sure what’s with ramen that causes such a reaction. I’ve definitely had ramen without any ill effects but that was a long time ago and I can’t remember the last time it went down without an incident.

My most recent encounters with ramen have been quite an adventure. More than a year ago, I had ramen at this new place and I didn’t even make it to the end of the meal. Things started rumbling and crashing inside me about ten minutes after I finished my bowl. Luckily, this place had really nice single occupant washrooms. I won’t go into the details of what transpired in there, except to say it was explosive.

That was probably the worst experience and my other ones have been less severe. Sometimes it’ll be anywhere between half an hour to an hour before I feel anything and once that happens the urgency will be anything from mild to great concern. At any rate though, it’s serious enough that it has to be dealt with before I can do anything else. Like I wouldn’t even think about having ramen and then going to a movie. That’s just asking for trouble.

So for dinner tonight, I decided to see if I could change things up. Usually when I have ramen, I get it with a tonkotsu broth, which is a very rich, fatty, and flavourful pork-based broth. It’s my theory that the richness and fat of the pork in the broth is more than my digestive system can handle. To test this, I ordered a ramen with a chicken-based broth. It was much more clear, clean and less rich compared to tonkotsu.

Our whole meal went without incident. I was thinking maybe I was onto something by avoiding the fatty broth. My friends and I left the restaurant and then went somewhere else to hang out and talk. I felt fine the entire time. About an hour and half after we finished dinner, we all headed home. As usual, I took the train home, quite content that I didn’t have to deal with ramen poops for once. Then approximately ten minutes from my stop, I felt that very familiar rumbling in my intestines that signaled that something was up.

Luckily, the build up of the intensity was relatively slow so it wasn’t a full-on emergency while I was on public transportation. While that was certainly true, make no mistake, this was definitely something had to be dealt with fairly soon. I made it back home without incident but by this time there was a level of discomfort there. I dropped by keys and wallet on the kitchen counter and made it a bee-line to the bathroom where I sought the release of what was ailing me.

So, while it was delayed this time by about two hours, I did not actually escape the ramen poops. What is it about ramen that causes me to have this reaction? I’m not sure. When it comes to other noodle soups, I’m fine. I’ve never had problems after eating a bowl of won-ton noodle soup. I eat pho on a very regular basis. I had it last week actually. I feel totally fine after a bowl of pho.

My situation with ramen has come to the point where I really question if I should have it if I won’t have easy access to a bathroom within 10 to 30 minutes after I eat it. Perhaps I should avoid it for the near future? I would really like to know what in the bowl of ramen causes this problem.

42 thoughts on “RAMEN POOPS”

  1. This. Exactly this. I’ve realized the last half a dozen times I’ve had ramen (all from the same place though) about 2 hours later I must make an urgent trip to the bathroom.

    I would love to know if you’ve had any breakthroughs on the cause of this mystery? Is it an intolerance to something? I get a similar ailment when I eat corn.

    Anyway, thanks for reading about a complete strangers bowel movements 😛

  2. Hello! Thanks for sharing your ramen experience! A new ramen place opened up close to where I live. I didn’t hesitate to try it because I could get home really quickly if need be.

    I’ve gone there about six times now with no problems. I’m not sure why. Their broth isn’t really that fatty compared to other ramen places I’ve been to. It makes it less tasty but no poops though!

  3. I wish I knew the answer because I have the same problem. I have had problems at my local place more than once, thought it was the restaurant’s fault. But today I had a bowl of tonkatsu ramen in a different state and then got in the car for a 90 minute drive home. I had to stop and use a gas station bathroom hallway. It’s really a shame because I love good ramen but I think I have to give it up. Also no problem with other soups like pho, which I eat even more often than ramen.

  4. Thanks Elissa for your experience with ramen! It’s two years later and I still have problems! I never give pho a second thought but ramen always invites danger. Good luck going forward!

  5. Man!!! Someone else with this problem. I went to my local ramen place twice witg the same issue. The first time I thought it was food poisoning but it happened a second time. Now I had ramen at a completely different restaurant and my stomach just wants to poop it out like crazy!!! I’m lactose intolerant so thought maybe it has to do with that but I’m really not sure

  6. I’m also quite lactose intolerant! There’s no dairy in ramen though, at least to my knowledge. I wonder if there’s a connection though.

  7. Sodium and water do not mix well.
    Salt is sodium. If you go to a ramen place that uses lots of sodium you will need to make trips to the bathroom.
    A good ramen place you will taste no sodium in the ramen because they will use the natural salt in the meats to flavor the broth. This also means you are less likely to go to the bathroom urgently.

  8. Hi guys, tonkotsu soup is from cooking long time of animal bones, which give you rich and creamy white looking and flavor, but by cooking long time of bone, you will also get gelatin from those animal bones, gelatin seems like the key word of the problem.

  9. Omg this is not just me, so I have IBS, and I can’t tolerate a few things especially Onion and garlic. Now last night I devoured half of vegetarian soy-based Ramen. It was delicious, however, when we left my tummy was going “What have you done” and next minute… I had to run for the toilet. Today I am still pooping (liquids -.-), it could be the fact that maybe you cant tolerate onion or garlic, or it could be the sodium factor which I did not think of until now.
    But i hope you figure out whats wrong, cause i thought ramen was safe! :\

  10. Hi Sarah! Thanks for leaving a comment! I have IBS too and I’m not sure if onion or garlic is the problem for me. I can eat those things in other foods and I usually have no problems.

    It could be a unique combination of things coming together in ramen that causes intestinal distress. The last two times I’ve had ramen was fine and that was with a chicken broth. I’m perhaps going back to the theory that chicken broth helps a bit.

  11. Oh my god, I’m not alone. So while my boyfriend’s favorite meal is Ramen, it’s my terror. Exploding!! Weird noises. Air balloon belly. Jesus!! What’s that Ramen poop problem…. v.v

  12. Thanks Jojo for the comment. I’m sorry to hear you get poops for such a delicious dish.

  13. I get this same reaction 9/10 times I’ve had ramen. At first I thought it were the spices (bec i love spicy) so i tried regular tonkotso but still got the same reaction. I, too, think its all the fat and richness of pork broth because I don’t get the “problem” with vegetarian ramen, or chinese/pho noodle soups which are clear broths.

  14. Thanks Chris for your insight as well! It’s so common to see people who never have problems with pho but ramen can be so troublesome. I agree that veggie ramen is safer but it just doesn’t taste as good.

  15. Omg I’m glad the comments on this post from 4 years ago are still going.

    I feel like a freak rn bc I am pooping my insides out. Spicy miso ramen with extra corn probably wasn’t the best idea.

    However, I used to eat ramen all the time with no issue. All the types and flavors but for whatever reason I’m having a bad reaction now. It’s one of those poops where you contemplate all your life decisions and regret everything that led to this moment.

  16. Lol, I’m really sorry to hear about your current gastrointestinal troubles. This does seem extreme though, maybe you actually have food poisoning instead?

  17. I’ve found I get this from not only ramen, but instant packet ramen, bouillon cubes, and better-than-bouillon broth – though so far I’ve only tried chicken flavor.

    I saw one suggestion elsewhere that the long cook times release not only gelatin and collagen, but histamine – and that some folks get the runs from histamine intolerance. Just FYI.

  18. Hmmm… releasing histamine. I’ve never heard of that before, very interesting. Thanks for the comment!

  19. I literally had this happen to me two days ago and I’m trying to find out what went wrong usually I have an iron stomach but at 3 am I had to go really go and then 3 hours later! I ate ramen a year ago I just felt bloated but nothing else maybe it’s the portion I try to finish it all and not leave leftovers but I’m just trying not to worry it’s something more!

  20. Been in Japan for 3 years. When I first arrived I lived in a share house with an Italian guy. I was excited to eat ramen because of what I’d seen online so I asked him to take me to his favorite ramen place. He agreed to take me but on the way to the store he had a laugh to himself and said some thing like “you’ll need to go to the toilet in a few hours” he’d said it so causally that I thought maybe it was a normal thing to have a stomachache after eating ramen. I soon learned that it definitely isn’t normal and it definitely shouldn’t happen. Despite my body’s reaction to ramen I have eaten a lot of ramen over the years. Most of the time I’m totally fine, but there is this one ramen place in particular “ Roppongi Menya Musashi Kosho ” that I still would go to that gives me a terrible stomachache.

    From experience, the only thing that I think may be the determining factor in all this is the amount of noodles you consume. I think this could be related to an allergy factor. I suspect that I and many others may be allergic to something. I’ve briefly read online and I think many people have a varying tolerance for gluten. I’d say I am mildly allergic to it.

    Overall, I love ramen and I’m sure I’ll probably go back for again next month.

    I hope that someday, someone will find the best answer so we know where to avoid!

  21. Thanks Jay for your comment! I never thought it might be the noodles. That’s very interesting. I don’t believe I have a gluten allergy, otherwise I’d be in gastrointestinal distress for other things but this might apply for other people.

    I love hearing people’s ramen poop stories!

  22. Lucas, you think it’s from the kelp or seaweed? Isn’t kombu supposed to actually help digestion rather than hinder it?

  23. Reading this on the toilet after devouring a leftover bowl of ramen. (- * ~*-) I initially thought it was the seaweed because I read once that most Americans don’t have the proper enzymes in their guts to digest it. However, I’ve been getting seaweed free, spicy tonkotso ramen and still get the worst bellyaches and bathroom ballads. This has always happened in the past – I guess we’ll never know why.

  24. Sorry to hear about your toilet troubles! Yeah, the seaweed thing didn’t sound too believable to me. I’m continually surprised at how many other people have the same affliction.

  25. I’m pretty positive everyone is reacting to the aromatic lard used by most ramen shops. Its literally just seasoned fat that sits on top of the broth, or sometimes its a little more mixed in.

  26. To be honest…I have this issue with store bought ones..and I ate them before with no problems a while ago. I wouldn’t say its the sodium or whatever is in the packet since ages ago you were able it eat it fine. I would say it is probably our bodies aging and not being able to handle it anymore.

  27. I think our bodies do definitely change. For example, I used to be able to consume dairy without any issues but now it causes all sorts of problems. Does it also apply here? Maybe for some people.

  28. I was constipated for about a week. I had fiber and other stuff to eat but as soon as I eat instant ramen I’m finally able to go to the bathroom. Can anyone tell me why? I’m not gluten sensitive but I have IBS. Idk if it’s the doodles but if they were that would just cause more constipation not cure it. Same with fatty foods like pizza and French fries they just make me constipated. What is it about instant noodles ?

  29. Instant noodles are a whole different ball game. I think whatever is causing poops for people eating instant noodles is perhaps the harsh chemical and processed nature of them.

  30. Long time ramen lover, first time poster. My favorite ramen is any type of spicy tonkotsu broth, and something about the combination of spice and rich fatty broth must not sit well with me.
    I’m talking legs sweating on the toilet seat, peeling off your shirt, rocking back and forth and gripping to the sink/shower/closest bolted-down object for dear life to keep myself from blasting off into space.
    I don’t know why I haven’t learned my lesson at this point but I’m just so glad I’m not alone.

  31. Penny, thanks for adding your vivid description of your own ramen experience.

  32. I just ate a instant ramen bowl and now rethinking all my life choices on the can. It’s one of those poops that just keeps going. I ate it 10 minutes ago and then I started to get what I call the rumblies and a bit of cool sweating and nausea. I honestly think it might be the noodles. maybe it’s the preservatives on it?

  33. Hi guys I’d just like to add in. I ate a bowl of spicy chicken ramen about 3 hours ago and spent the last 30 minutes feeling like a rocket getting ready to blast off on the toilet. I was so hot. I was in so much pain. I was clutching my bowels together. I think I blacked out for 2 seconds. I almost had to go in the street…in the street. Such violence inside me. Happens everytime I eat ramen but only restaurant ramen, no other foods.

  34. Doritosandip, thanks for sharing. I feel your pain about almost needing to go in the street. It just wants to come out so bad and so violently. It waits for nothing. The restaurant ramen, so dangerous.

  35. I have a theory about eating the egg. Any theories about the egg in the bowl? Do you have an egg in your bowls?

  36. Jenna, I think all our gastrointestinal systems react differently and for me, the egg doesn’t seem to be the problem. Though, I have to say, some ramen bowls have runnier eggs than others. Maybe some of these eggs aren’t cooked all the way?

  37. Great blog !! I completely relate to your post!

    It never fails. I know for fact, no matter where it’s from, that i’m on that can shortly after ramen; which isn’t necessarily a bad thing as I feel great after. It almost seems like the most efficient meal really. Quickly in, quickly out. Maybe that’s a new diet fad – The Ramen Diet.

    Work got us all ramen today, I actually haven’t had a bowl in a long time, and I figured hey “Maybe this time it won’t happen”… well it did. Mercifully, there are 2 washrooms at our small office so I can place an “out of order” on the door outside of one.
    Sitting here and I said, i’m googling this right now ! I can’t be the only one … and it seems I am not.

    I messaged my chef friend who says that it’s most likely the richness of the broth. I too have never had issues with other soups such as pho or wonton soups.

    Thought I’d add to this post as it seems to be going on for a couple years now. Lets see how much longer it shall go !

    Happy Ramen eats everyone !

  38. Thanks Lewis for adding your comments, even as you were taking care of business! As long as there is ramen and its rich broth, there will be poops afterwards!

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