Lower abdominal issues

Hi All, I started Huel Black on Jan 6th. Total of 4 scoops a day in the recommended amount of water to make 2 shakes whilst still having a high fiber breakfast as I always have, and a small evening meal. The weight began to fall off, no issues, generally feeling a lot more energetic and without the lows coming from eating to much sugar before. I’m 5’11 and used to be 165lbs and trim. Had drifted to 180+. The first two weeks on Huel and the balanced calorie controlled diet put me firmly in the low 170s and feeling good.

However, 2 weeks in I developed a pain in my lower right abdomen/pelvis. I didn’t think of it as being diet or Huel related and my doctor thought it could be my appendix. Given the seriousness of the possibility I got a CT scan and some ultrasounds / blood work. In the meantime (week 3) I dropped Huel just to take a variable out of the equation. My usual regular morning bowel habits ended up moving from once to 3 times over a few hours being softer and smaller but not anything good absolute concern. Everything came back clean but the pain migrated from specific location on lower right to a burning pain in the lower abdomen below and near the belly button that feels more of a burning sensation. I’ve been off Huel now for a week and a bit and the bowel habits and burning pain have continued and don’t show any sign of stopping. It seems to be a gut issue but I can’t work out whether Huel has created an imbalance that needs to work itself out or whether I need to return to it? Overall I’d say my protein intake has been consistent but carbs have been lower and protein higher on Huel. Now I’m back to my old ‘usual’ diet which is not really healthy but has seen me well over time. Finally the one thing on the CT scan was a kidney stone still in Kidney which isn’t causing the abdominal pain. The doctor and radiologist advise that atkins/keto diets have a habit of causing kidney stones. That’s an aside. Looking for advice on how I May return my gut to its normal non painful state and what foods to eat or avoid. I have 4 bags of Huel which if I have to not use is no big deal but would like to use it to a healthy level and get a balance without these burning pains and general gut ache / changed bowel habits.

Has the appendix been removed? There are also things like neurogenic appendicopathy which would not be visible in CT scans. I don’t say that this is the reason but maybe you are interested in some literature…

But of course it can’t be denied that it appeared only recently, and you had a diet change recently. So maybe these two things are linked. People with sensitive guts can show larger reactions on diet changes, so maybe it is really just an adaptation issue. The gut microbioma is still not well understood, although it has been a large research interest in the last time. Whether the use of prebiotics helps is still under debate, but anyway Huel contains these too, so it should be unlikely that they are helpful in your case.

Stress also causes intestinal symptoms. Have you started using Huel because you wanted to start a healthier lifestyle or because you looked for more convenient meals as the rest of your life has become more stressful?

And what does the diet which hasn’t caused any problems look like?

Hey thanks for the quick reply. My normal diet is bran flakes for breakfast. Usually something like salad, sandwich, soup for lunch then a larger meal in the evenings that would usually be meat, carbs and veg. Plus a few snacks in between. I started Huel to lose weight and give me a regime to cut down on the snacking etc. it worked in the sense I was sticking to 4 eating times a day, two of which were Huel, and then a meal at night that was smaller than before. Stress wise nothing particularly new and I have time on my hands so Huel was definitely not a time saving thing. I’m a medicinal chemist by academic background so I have a fairly good comprehension of diet and digestion plus I’m of an analytical mind so trying to work out how to proceed to diagnose by exception. Have a follow up with Dr this week to review things. I’ll look in to that other appendix condition you mention. Overall the main symptom now is the below belly button burning sensation in the bowel and more regular movements but no change in the type. The specific right side pain has disappeared.

Worth mentioning for now I’m not going to go back to Huel this week to try and solve if it was the change that triggered something, as I’m away on vacation the week after so seeing if another week of ‘normal’ settles things down.

Hey @DW83 - welcome to the Huel forum! But oh goodness - I am sorry to hear about what you’re going through. That certainly does not sound fun. :cry: I hope you feel better soon!

If it’s alright with you, I have a few follow up questions (feel free to also drop me a DM, if preferred too!):

  • Just to confirm: they advised the kidney stone isn’t causing the abdominal pain? Is this pain constant or only when eating?
  • What kind of dietary pattern were you following before adding Huel into your intake and have you had kidney stones prior? Did they give any additional insight into the type of stone?
  • For the first two weeks when you were consuming Huel, there were no issues?

Please let us know how this goes!

Hey. Thanks for the reply!

The kidney stone is not causing this pain, it’s not aligned with symptoms. But they believe I may have had others which caused the specific pain.

My diet wasn’t horrendous before and was fairly well balanced: more carbs, more sugar and less protein than before.

The pain in abdomen and the burning intestinal feeling came about a week in to using Huel or just after and the latter is still present now but comes and goes.I’d say I’m getting it less day by day which either suggests the impact of Huel / impact of coming off Huel is weakening or I’m getting over an unrelated issue.

Oh and never had kidney stones or any GI health issues whatsoever.

Incidentally I had a similar experience. Mine was less a burning sensation and more like I’d swallowed a cup of nail clippings. I switched to Hot & Savory and the problem went away. I suspect flaxseed and my gut do not agree with each other.

But the energy I get from actually getting complete nutrition is breathtakingly wonderful. That’s what makes me a Hueligan.

Of course! And thanks for getting back to me too. :slight_smile:

Really interesting, please do let us know how everything goes.

Another thing to maybe try in the future, so long as Huel is suitable, is decreasing the amount consumed each day (maybe 1 or 2 scoops rather than 4) to see if that helps as it may be the higher fiber content and your body not having time to adjust if you went right to consuming 4 scoops per day.

Though, fiber seems a bit less likely to be the cause considering you were good for a week while consuming and the symptoms come and go throughout the day and are more of a pain/burning sensation.

Glad to hear it’s getting better. Again, do keep us posted on how everything goes as well as if they are able to pinpoint the cause! Seems like taking Huel out of your intake is a good shout for now, until the cause is located and whether or not there’s an ingredient you do not tolerate.

Lastly, I know you also mentioned in your initial message that you may also look to return Huel - if that occurs, please reach out to us at team@huel.com and you can mention my name and my colleagues will send the email my way where I can assist you further!

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