Runner’s Diarrhea : What Causes, How to Prevent and Treatment

Distance runners are often affected by a condition referred as Runner’s diarrhea. This is a situation often characterized by the urge for a bowel movement while the runners are running, during or after race. Or some situation marathon runner’s diarrhea after running that comes with cramp also.  Even so, whether the stool is considered diarrhea or ischemic enteropathy is still under debate.

marathon runner diarrhea picture

The runners bloody diarrhea after running is not the common case, although this condition may also be hinted by frequent and loose bowel movements shortly after a run or day after. The same common diarrhea medicine can also be used to treat this condition. In addition to the Runner’s diarrhea cure, there are also some preventive measures you can do to prevent this from occurring.

What Causes Runner’s Diarrhea

So, what actually Runner’s diarrhea causes? Why do runners have diarrhea? The causes are still unclear until now, although there are some contributing factors that can be identified already. Those also include the decreasing of blood flow to your intestines, physical jostling of your organs, anxiety before the race, stress, changes in your intestinal hormone secretion.

In addition to that, foods obviously move more quickly through the athletes’ bowels in training. Many also speculate that this condition is also caused by mechanical trauma and ischemia.

How Long Runner’s Diarrhea Last and Treatments

How long does Runner’s diarrhea last, though? Usually, the diarrhea will clear up by itself starting from a few hours up to two days after running. The Runner’s diarrhea treatment is also similar to the treatment required to deal with any form of diarrhea, including replacement of electrolytes and fluids, which is highly advisable.

Read also : How To Stop Diarrhea

What You Can Do to Prevent Runner’s Diarrhea

Runner’s diarrhea prevention. The next topic we will cover is what you can do to prevent Runner’s diarrhea from occurring. There are various methods you can do and this varies between individuals in avoiding diarrhea on runners. Even so, in general, the pre-running diet will always be needed to be examined since there are foods that can potentially trigger this condition. This is why we will mostly focus on what foods you’ll need to avoid and what you should take in order to prevent Runner’s diarrhea or Runner’s trots.runner's diarrhea images

  1. Avoid caffeine…

Caffeine in a cup of coffee is often needed to keep us regular. Even so, generally, caffeine actually can expedite the food’s transit time through your gastrointestinal tract. Bear in mind that coffee isn’t the only source of caffeine—there are energy drinks, soda, tea, and certain foods such as gum and chocolate. Hence, upping your caffeine intake before a long run definitely is a big no. Rather, limit to one cup of coffee and always be sure to budget your “transit time” before the running.

…and replace with…

Decaffeinated coffee is the safest bet you have and be sure to have 3 to 4 hours before the running, especially if you’re cutting back the caffeine. Also, always check the food labels to make sure that you won’t be consuming anything containing sources that will trigger your bowel movement. Alternatively, for those who wish to switch away, eat an apple instead. According to the studies, apples can be as effective as a cup of coffee before running.

  1. Avoid oatmeal…

Oatmeal, along with other cereals filled with fiber such as bran, is indeed healthy, yet it can trigger a serious case of bowel movement. It is especially true is the bowl of fiber is also sprinkled with fiber-rich toppings, such as chia seeds and berries. It’s always recommended to cut down your fiber intake especially before a big run.

…and replace with…

Foods such as bananas, toast, and peanut butter are a much, much safer option to keep your fiber consumption even before you run. Bananas and bread are easy to digest, while the peanut butter contains protein to sustain your workout instead of sabotaging it.

  1. Avoid sorbitol…

runner with diarrhea pictureSorbitol is the sugar alcohol you can find in products such as beverages and gum. It is to replace actual sugar while reducing calories. What’s become a problem here is that sorbitol cannot be fully absorbed by the body, meaning that it cannot be used for energy either, unlike the actual sugar. This way, sorbitol will stay in the gastrointestinal tract and cause digestive problems, including diarrhea.

…and replace with…

The electrolyte replacement drink or plain H2O are the best replacement, although this will depend on your training needs. Either way, they’ll keep you hydrated adequately without having to trigger your colon to misbehave.

  1. Avoid spicy foods…

The chemical that creates the spicy taste, capsaicin, will irritate the lining of your large and small intestine. Since exercising quickens your digestion, it goes without saying that spicy foods are a big no either before or after running.

…and replace with…

Milder menu option is the best choice, even for your run post meal. Load yourself with complex carbohydrates, such as brown rice and non-starchy veggies. Wait for at least 3 hours for digestion before you can finally taste the spiciness.

  1. Avoid dairy products…

The combination of lactose and fat in dairy products, such as milk and cheese, will spend your gastrointestinal system easily. That can help you in preventing runners stomach diarrhea.

…and replace with…

For a taste of creamy beverage without having to worry about runner’s trots, opt for the alternative milk source, such as almond milk—also, be sure that it’s not made with the thickener carrageen which may result in gut irritation and inflammation. Dairy-free cheeses are also your safe choice.

  1. Avoid beans, legumes, and lentis…

These foods, often called pulses, have become trendy and get only more and more recently, which is good considering their health benefits. However, since they’re high in fiber, they can also become your mid-run enemy.

…and replace with…

Opt for alternative carbs containing less fiber pre-run, such as English muffins, potatoes, rice, pasta, and sourdough bread.

Instead of treating runners diarrhea, another thing that can help you prevent marathon Runner’s has diarrhea during race is wearing loose-fitting and comfortable clothing while running. Tight clothing, especially the one that feels too tight around your waist, may worsen diarrhea. You will also need to consider reducing the distance or intensity of your runs until your condition improves. In the end, we hope the information we shared above will help you!

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