Healthy Living

Helpful Hints for Runners with Crohn’s or Colitis

hints for runners with crohns or colitis

Helpful Hints for Runners with Crohn’s or Colitis

Even when people are trained to compete, all endurance runners seem to be potential candidates for exercise-induced “runners’ trots”, whose hallmarks are intestinal cramps and diarrhea.

For those runners affected by Gastrointestinal (GI) distress, it seems that when the body reaches the zone of peak performance, and becomes one with the pavement, legs and arms moving in sync, and the air flowing in and out of the lungs at a measured pace, that sudden need to defecate comes out of nowhere. And, those painful cramps…

Why? Why now? You’re on the clock and pacing well. Now what …? 

The blood is diverted to the body parts when the person reaches his running peak. Also to regulate temperature control, blood is rushed to the body parts. The diverted blood flow away from the GI tract is more if the running is intense.  Hence the GI tract is deprived of blood flow. Thus in the colon, inflammatory type response is created. This causes subsequent diarrhoea and cramps. 

This diarrhea may contain blood since the lining of con is shed. According to a study published, acute disturbances in the health of gastrointestinal tract can be created due to induced gastrointestinal syndrome. The reason for this is not clear yet. However Susan has suggested that in order to include an accessible bathroom, runners should plan their routes. In this way a troublesome and embarrassing situation can be accommodated. Also while running you can put wet wipes or small amount of toilet paper in the pocket. Also do not put off when you feel like emptying your bowels.

The stress on GI tract increases due to dehydration. And the colon can be put under great duress due to combination of less blood flow and dehydration. During a run every player experiences some amount of dehydration. But do not think that there is nothing to worry. You performance level may be harmed by dehydration and also the stress on GI tract may increase. It may even harm the colon if dehydration is combined with reduced blood flow.

  • Maintain electrolyte balance since they play a critical role in athletic performance and physiology. Drink whenever you feel thirsty. For exercises longer than one hour, 0.5-1 litre of water is needed by athletes. Depending on the amount of sweat, per hour 1000mg of sodium is lost. If this is not replenished then it may cause nausea, diarrhoea, vomiting, distress to GI tract. Majority of the sports drink contain per 100 ml 20-60 mg of sodium. Susan says that hydrate yourself.
  • Strengthen pelvic floor muscles- decreased blood flow, physical jarring and jostling, dehydration, gravity that does not work in their favour can be a disaster for runners. Meet your physician to find out what is wrong with your body. A training log should be prepared prior to your appointment. The pace, weather, mileage should be recorded. Record the onset of symptoms. Find out about the exercises that will help you strengthen the pelvic muscles.
  • Be mindful of any medications- prime offenders are over the counter anti inflammatory medicines. Medicines such as ibuprofen. Aspirin, naproxen can have side effects. Talk with your physician. Consult him or her before talking any anti diarrheal medications.
  • Dietary changes- common triggers should be avoided. To correlate diet with any episodes, keep a food log. During running, the bowel issues can be impacted by the time of day you eat. Nothing should be eaten two hours before you run. To re-train your body clock, time your meals with your runs. Throughout the day eat 4 or 5 smaller meals. Before a planned morning run, ear earlier in the evening.
  • Take care of your body- after a bout of distress let your body heal. Before your resume running talk to your physician.