Have you ever set out for a run to get your fitness back on track but came home clutching your stomach and making a beeline for the toilet? Well, you are definitely not the only one being annoyed by runner’s colitis, since there are many people around the world who are also complaining about the exact same thing. Read on to find out why you have this problem, and how you can avoid it in the future.
Why Do I Have Diarrhea After Running?
The condition is known as runners’ colitis. It is brought about by exercise and usually lasts for a short amount of time. When you are running, the muscles in your body need plenty of blood that is rich in oxygen. To provide this blood to the muscles, a shunting mechanism in the body diverts this blood from other organs such as the gastrointestinal tract and takes it to the muscles where it is needed. The more intense exercise you engage in, the greater the amount of blood that is going to be diverted. Furthermore, if you run for longer time, then your gastrointestinal tract is going to be without oxygenated blood for all that duration.
Dehydration also leads to diarrhea after running, which is especially something to think twice about if you run in the sun. If you are not maintaining your electrolyte and liquid intake while running, you may be putting your colon under a lot of stress, which means that you are more likely to find yourself complaining about cramps.
When you are running, you are also jostling and jarring your gastrointestinal tract at the same time. This, together with the fact that your GI tract is without blood and is also under stress due to water loss, makes you more easily to get diarrhea.
Tips to Prevent Diarrhea After Running
There are a number of things that you can do to prevent the condition.
1. Keep Hydrated
Ensure that you are drinking lots of liquids. At the same time, however, avoid having liquids that are warm since they can speed up the food flowing along your body’s digestive tract. Energy drinks are not recommended if you always get diarrhea after running. They often contain a higher concentration of electrolytes and sugars, which pull away water from the rest of the body and into the stomach.
2. Pay Attention to Your Diet
If you plan on running the next day, make sure that you do not eat too much food that can produce gas or are rich in fiber today, such as salads, fruits, bran and beans. However, if you do plan on going for a run each day, then make sure you find a tolerable fiber level for yourself.
Individuals who are lactose intolerant need to take extra care and it would be a good idea to consume those products that are lactose-free or lactose-reduced.
Approximately three to six hours before you go running, avoid the intake of foods that are high in caffeine sugar, or fat content.
3. Avoid Tight Clothing
Do not subject your body to very tight clothing while you are running. Instead, opt for loose items of clothing that are not tight around the waist.
Other People’s Experiences on Diarrhea After Running
"You're absolutely not alone if you regularly have experience this condition. Many people have taken to online forums in order to complain about the often embarrassing diarrhea as well as try to find a solution to their problem."
"Some individuals, for example, recommend taking a bulk forming fiber drink that is available at pharmacies and supermarkets. Another user mentioned that taking chia seeds every morning by adding them to cereal has managed to solve the problem for other individuals who were facing the same agony. One user, for example, states that she realized that her diarrhea after running was always worse if she had had a cup of coffee before she set out for a run. Furthermore, some users also complain that having milk makes the problem worse for them."
"Always remember that what may work for one person may not always work for you too. Therefore, you may need to take a diet journal in order to find the exact cause of your problem and a solution to it."