Runner’s diarrhea: exercise-induced diarrhea

Diarrhea and abdominal pain are common phenomena when doing sports – especially jogging and running. This is why gastrointestinal problems arise during sport and this is how you can prevent them.

Exercise-induced  diarrhea  occurs particularly in endurance athletes – but can also be fatal for ambitious or untrained recreational athletes. These are the causes and this is how you can prevent diarrhea and abdominal pain during sports:

Exercise-induced diarrhea in sport

According to studies, 10 to 50 percent of endurance runners experience exercise-induced diarrhea and abdominal cramps. There are various triggers for symptoms during sport:

  • High exercise intensity and lack of oxygen:  Running fast leads to high oxygen consumption, which can reduce the blood supply to the stomach and intestines and cause diarrhea or cramps.
  • Mechanical trauma:  Vibrations from jogging and the intensity of sport can lead to increased pressure in the abdominal cavity. Especially with longer loads over 30 minutes.
  • Improper diet before or during exercise:  Increased food intake, greasy food and foods high in carbohydrates and protein (meat, eggs, dairy products) should be avoided immediately before exercise. Individual intolerances can also be intensified by the stress.
  • Physical and psychological stress:  Increased stress levels and the release of  adrenaline , for example in marathon runners before the start, can also have a negative effect on the stomach and intestines.
  • Medications:  Aspirin, NSAIDs, or  antibiotics  can also stimulate digestion. In competitive athletes, but also in the amateur sector, doping can also speed up the process.

In addition to diarrhea and abdominal pain, other problems can occur during sport:

  • nausea
  • nausea
  • Vomit
  • gas
  • heartburn
  • burping
  • Stuhldrang
  • blood in the stool

Tips and tricks for runner’s diarrhea

To prevent discomfort when running or exercising, follow these tips and tricks:

  • Increase the load slowly:  In order to get the body used to the load, the intensity should be increased slowly. The duration of the runs should also be gradually adjusted for beginners.
  • Control training correctly:  Low endurance training requires less oxygen consumption and promotes better blood circulation in the stomach and intestines. During intensive training for competitions, you should alternate between different loads so as not to overtax the body.
  • Optimizing nutrition:  Eating the right diet and avoiding certain foods can help prevent gastrointestinal problems.
  • Stress management:  Autogenic training or meditation can help competitive athletes to reduce excitement and lower stress levels.

In the case of previous illnesses or chronic gastrointestinal complaints, it is recommended to clarify the training with a doctor and to look for possible alternatives.


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