Running with abdominal pains is never nice, but there are techniques to reduce or eliminate the agony – or perhaps prevent cramping entirely.

The common side stitch, according to specialists, is produced by the exertion of running and jumping forces within the abdominal walls. As your feet hit the ground, your abdomen and other organs, such as the spleen and liver, collide, stretching connective tissue around the nerves and generating discomfort. This connective tissue is also connected to the diaphragm, which aids in breathing. This ache commonly occurs on the right side, slightly beneath the ribs. The side stitch is commonly caused by activities such as running, horseback riding, and sit-ups.

Causes Of Stomach Pain While Running

Blood flow that would ordinarily be routed to the digestive tract is redirected to the cardiovascular system when you run for an extended period.

This can irritate and upset your digestive system. As a consequence, you may feel compelled to remove whatever is stuck in your intestines. The runner’s stomach can occur due to multiple reasons. Some of them are as follows.

  • Side Cramps

This cramp occurs in the side, or the lower abdomen, as the name suggests. According to Jeff Galloway, an Olympian, it’s mostly due to shallow breathing, or not breathing properly from the lower lung. He’s a seasoned runner who has coached over 200,000 runners and walkers, as well as running a marathon-training program. “The side ache is a small alarm,” Galloway adds, alerting you to your breathing. According to Pete McCall, an excess of blood electrolytes in your body may also play a role.

  • Stomach Cramps

According to Galloway, this could be tied to how you breathe. It could also be a result of whatever you eat or drink prior to your workout. Galloway explains that if you have too much water or foodstuff in your belly, you won’t be able to take a deep breath. Stomach cramps can also be caused by imbalanced salt, potassium, and calcium levels, according to McCall.

  • Lead Poisoning

Unfortunately, lead poisoning is a highly dangerous health condition that can have some extremely unpleasant side effects. The longer you wait to realize that’s what you’re up against, the worse it gets.

We hoped we could tell you that things were different. However, lead is still present in many homes around the United States. Perhaps you haven’t been able to get an expert to come with an XRF analyzer to check if the paint that was applied earlier in the day is still in good condition. As a result, you’ve been inhaling small lead flakes for quite some time. It could be one of the reasons why your stomach hurts when you run.

  • Muscle Cramps

The sole reason behind muscle cramps is found to be dehydration.

  • Stomach Ulcer

Long-term usage of anti-inflammatory medicines, stressful lifestyles, and other factors can lead to stomach ulcers. When you run without drinking enough water, it might cause your stomach to become acidic. The ulcer is irritated by the acidity, causing a burning feeling. If this appears to be a recurring issue, you will need to take medicine to treat the ulcers.

Treatment Of Runner’s Stomach

Although there is no complete cure for a runner’s stomach, there are a number of steps you can take that can minimize the pain.

  • Diet

A modification in your nutrition can improve your running performance. It could also make training and races more comfortable.

A diet low in specific sugars and carbs, known as a low FODMOP diet, has been demonstrated to help with GI difficulties while exercising. Bread and dairy, as well as sweeteners, honey, and a variety of fruits and vegetables are all avoided in a low FODMOP diet.

You could also be more conscious about when you eat and drink. According to a review of the literature, drinking and eating right before exercising can induce severe stomach pain during activity.

  • Probiotics

You may have less stomach irritation during endurance exercises if you have a proper diet and regular bowel movements. Taking probiotic pills can help to strengthen your stomach and reduce your chances of needing to use the restroom during your workout.

According to a 2014 study, Probiotic pills for four weeks improved a runner’s endurance and stomach when running in hot weather. Probiotics were found to aid runners to reduce gastrointestinal issues during a marathon in a similar 2019 study.

  1. Hydration

Cramps and stitches in your belly while running could be the result of insufficient hydration. Hydration before and throughout the long run is crucial, but working it out can be tough.

Consuming too much water might aggravate cramping and irritate the digestive system. The safest option is to make it a habit to drink plenty of water and electrolyte-infused drinks during your exercises.

  • Practice

Runner’s belly affects even professional athletes who compete in numerous marathons each year. Finding a regimen that fits your body and following it during workout and race days will help you overcome the runner’s belly. It may take some trial and error to get it exactly right, however, once you do, stick with it.

Many runners stand by having a strong pre-race routine that includes the same pre-run meal and the same post-race recovery foods, according to anecdotal evidence.

  • Avoid Running On A Full Stomach

Drinking a lot of water or eating a lot of food 2-4 hours before exercising is not a good idea. During exercise, drink modest amounts and wait until after the exercise to properly rehydrate. Dehydration can also induce cramping, so drink plenty of water or Gatorade when jogging. If you’re jogging for more than thirty min or in hot weather, take a few sips at regular intervals.

The Takeaways

Stomach pain while running isn’t uncommon, and there’s no simple way to prevent it.

Planning your diets, avoiding foods that trigger, taking probiotics, and keeping hydrated can all help you enhance your track performance along with lowering your risk of developing these symptoms. If GI symptoms become a regular stumbling block during your workouts, you should consult your doctor to screen out any health issues.


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