Gut Goes Crazy from Exercise

Endurance athletes have a greater risk of acid reflux disease

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Endurance athletes are know to push their bodies to the limit. This may be the reason that the most common health issues of endurance athletes are overuse injuries. However, heartburn problems are becoming common among these athletes.

Research shows that many endurance athletes, such as long-distance runners, suffer from gerd or acid reflux. Diarrhea and bleeding in the stomach and intestines are very common among these athletes.

"Endurance athletes have a higher risk for gut problems."

Athletes can avoid gut problems by changing their diet or training routine. These changes could involve doing less intense workouts; drinking water to stay hydrated; using the bathroom before exercising; not exercising intensely within three hours of a meal; not eating high-fiber or high-fat foods; and not drinking too much caffeine within an hour or two of exercising.

It's important to see a doctor if gut problems continue or get worse after exercise, says researcher Lauren Simon, M.D., M.P.H. Simon adds that athletes should see a doctor if any gut problem affects their ability to exercise.

Looking at other studies, Dr. Simon found that gastrointestinal disturbances (problems of the gut) affect anywhere from 30 to 81 percent of distance runners.

Simon also identified the three most common gastrointestinal disturbances among endurance athletes. The first is gastroesophageal reflux disease, or acid reflux disease - a condition in which stomach acid goes back up through the esophagus.

The second most common gastrointestinal disturbance is exercise-induced gastrointestinal bleeding. Patients with this condition suffer from bleeding in the stomach and intestines.

Long-distance runners and endurance athletes also have a higher risk of diarrhea and the sudden need to defecate.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
April 20, 2011
Last Updated:
April 22, 2011