High-Intensity Exercise May Be Bad for the Bowels | myIBSteam

Connect with others who understand.

sign up Log in
Resources
About myIBSteam
Powered By

High-Intensity Exercise May Be Bad for the Bowels

Posted on December 20, 2018


By Don Rauf, HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, June 16, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- When it comes to stomach discomfort during exercise, forget that old adage "no pain, no gain." New research suggests that excessive strenuous exercise may lead to gut damage.

"The stress response of prolonged vigorous exercise shuts down gut function," said lead author Ricardo Costa.


"The redistribution of blood flow away from the gut and towards working muscles creates gut cell injury that may lead to cell death, leaky gut, and systemic immune responses due to intestinal bacteria entering general circulation," Costa added. He's a senior researcher with the department of nutrition, dietetics and food at Monash University in Australia.

Researchers observed that the risk of gut injury and impaired function seems to increase along with the intensity and duration of exercise.

The problem is dubbed "exercise-induced gastrointestinal syndrome." The researchers reviewed eight previously done studies that looked at this issue.

Two hours appears to be the threshold, the researchers said. After two hours of continuous endurance exercise when 60 percent of an individual's maximum intensity level is reached,
gut damage may occur. Costa said that examples of such exercise are running and cycling.

He said heat stress appears to be an exacerbating factor. People with a predisposition to gut diseases or disorders may be more susceptible to such exercise-related health problems, he added.

Dr. Elena Ivanina is a senior gastroenterology fellow at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. She wasn't involved with this research but reviewed the study. She said that normal blood flow to the gut keeps cells oxygenated and healthy to ensure appropriate metabolism and function.


If the gut loses a significant supply of blood during exercise, it can lead to inflammation that damages the protective gut lining. With a weakened gastrointestinal (GI) immune system, toxins in the gut can leak out into the systemic circulation -- the so-called "leaky gut" phenomenon, Ivanina said.

But, she underscored that exercise in moderation has been shown to have many protective benefits to the gut.

"Specifically, through exercise, patients can maintain a healthy weight and avoid the consequences of obesity," she said. Obesity has been associated with many GI diseases, such as gallbladder disease; fatty liver disease; gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD); and cancer of the esophagus, stomach, liver
and colon. Regular moderate physical activity also lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and depression.

To prevent exercise-related gut problems, Costa advised maintaining hydration throughout
physical activity, and possibly consuming small amounts of carbohydrates and protein before and during exercise.

Ivanina said preventive measures might help keep abdominal troubles in check. These include resting and drinking enough water. She also suggested discussing any symptoms with a doctor to ensure there is no underlying gastrointestinal disorder.

Costa recommended that people exercise within their comfort zone. If you have stomach or abdominal pain, "this is a sign that something is not right," he said.

Individuals with symptoms of gut disturbances during exercise should see their doctor.

The study authors advised against taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs -- including ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen sodium (Aleve) -- before working out.


Costa said there's emerging evidence that a special diet -- called a low FODMAP diet -- leading up to heavy training and competition may reduce gut symptoms. FODMAP stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols. FODMAPs are specific types of carbohydrates (sugars) that pull water into the intestinal tract.

The International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders suggests consulting a dietitian familiar with FODMAP diets. Such diets can be difficult to initiate properly on your own, the foundation says.

Costa also said there's no clear evidence that dietary supplements -- such as antioxidants, glutamine, bovine colostrum and/or probiotics -- prevent or reduce exercise-associated gut disturbances.


SOURCES: Ricardo Costa, Ph.D., senior lecturer and researcher, department of nutrition, dietetics and food, Monash University, Notting Hill, Australia; Elena A. Ivanina, D.O., M.P.H., senior gastroenterology fellow, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; June 7, 2017, Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics, online
Note: This article was published more than one year ago. The facts and conclusions presented may have since changed and may no longer be accurate.
Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved.


Here are some questions and conversations from myIBSteam:

"Hello everyone. I have been doing really well. I've gotten into a structured exercise regimen and I think that is really helping me."

"Having a good day so far. A little bit of discomfort but not bad. Getting to the gym and eating the foods that I can eat. Working with a trainer on Friday"

"Went to work out taking it easy on the abs. Any exercise that focuses on the abs seems to start up the IBS symptoms."


Does exercise make your IBS symptoms worse?
Share in the comments below or directly on myIBSteam.

Posted on December 20, 2018
All updates must be accompanied by text or a picture.

We'd love to hear from you! Please share your name and email to post and read comments.

You'll also get the latest articles directly to your inbox.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Related Articles

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) leads to symptoms like abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, and con...

Probiotics for IBS: Do They Help?

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) leads to symptoms like abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, and con...
This is a short guided meditation by Dr. Christiane Wolf on self-kindness, which gives you more ...

Self-Kindness When Struggling: 6-Minute Guided Meditation

This is a short guided meditation by Dr. Christiane Wolf on self-kindness, which gives you more ...
If you’re living with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), you’re already aware of the impact the cond...

How To Get Involved With IBS Awareness

If you’re living with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), you’re already aware of the impact the cond...
To determine how you can reduce your medical expenses, myIBSteam sat down with Susan Null of Sys...

How To Reduce Medical Bills: Top Financial Expert Shares 10 Tips

To determine how you can reduce your medical expenses, myIBSteam sat down with Susan Null of Sys...
Eat healthier. Exercise more. Learn a new skill. Pay off a credit card. Many of us have made simi...

Setting Intentions for 2020 With Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Eat healthier. Exercise more. Learn a new skill. Pay off a credit card. Many of us have made simi...
Living with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) may change your holidays, but you can still have enjoy...

How to Enjoy the Holidays Despite IBS

Living with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) may change your holidays, but you can still have enjoy...

Recent Articles

People with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) often rely on controlling their diet to reduce uncomfo...

Carnivore Diet for IBS: Is It Effective?

People with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) often rely on controlling their diet to reduce uncomfo...
Living with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) often means carefully managing your diet to avoid trig...

6 Milk Alternatives for IBS: Understanding Your Options

Living with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) often means carefully managing your diet to avoid trig...
Cramping, stomach pain, bloating — if you have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), you’re no stranger...

Can a Heating Pad Help With IBS Pain?

Cramping, stomach pain, bloating — if you have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), you’re no stranger...
Welcome to myIBSteam — the place to connect with others living with irritable bowel syndrome (IB...

Getting Started on myIBSteam (VIDEO)

Welcome to myIBSteam — the place to connect with others living with irritable bowel syndrome (IB...
Because the physical impact of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can be all-consuming, you may be de...

How IBS Can Affect Your Mental Health

Because the physical impact of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can be all-consuming, you may be de...
What do I know now that I wish I had known when I was first diagnosed with irritable bowel syndro...

My Perspective: Living With Hope and IBS

What do I know now that I wish I had known when I was first diagnosed with irritable bowel syndro...
myIBSteam My IBS Team

Thank you for subscribing!

Become a member to get even more:

sign up for free

close
myIBSteam
Add to your home screen
myIBSteam Tap below and then 'Add to Home Screen'