ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to avoid stomach problems while running

Updated on May 15, 2007

Many of us have experience stomach problems while running, ranging from cramps to diarrhea! So what causes this?? And how can we avoid it from happening??

A little stomach problem history

In 1982, a British physician named A. M. W. Porter developed a severe case of diarrhea as he ran his first marathon. This was hardly an earth-shaking event, but the bowel troubles did cause Porter to reevaluate what was happening to his internal organs during running. Porter eventually decided that his caecum, which is the first part of the large intestine, had been rubbing against the inside of his abdominal wall. This friction might have produced an inflammation of the caecum, precipitating the diarrhoea and causing stitch-like pain in the right side of the abdomen (where the caecum is located). Porter coined the term 'caecal slap' to describe the knocking of the caecum against the abdominal wall ('Marathon Running and the Caecal Slap Syndrome,' British Journal of Sports Medicine, vol. 16, p. 178, 1982).

This caecal slap may also be an additional source of stitches (see my HubPages article "Side Stitches"). Fortunately, the way to keep it from ruining your workout or competition is clear: breathe out when your left foot hits the ground, not during right footstrikes. If you breathe out when your right foot hits the ground, your abdominal wall will move inward at the same time that your caecum, which is also on the right side of the body, is jostled, maximizing friction between the two body parts. In general, being a 'left-footed exhaler' is a good idea if you know that you are a right-sided stitcher. Left-footed exhalations should also help to minimize the tension between liver and diaphragm which we described earlier.

It's possible, too, that marathon-type endurance runners could reduce the risk of developing a colon-slapping stitch (and perhaps stitches of all kinds) by deliberately changing their breathing patterns every now and then. The idea would be to use left-footed exhaling most of the time but to shift over to right-footed exhalations for five- to 10-minute periods during races and long workouts. This should lead to more equal 'bruising rates' on each side of the colon and diaphragm and might help thwart stitches by reducing the possibility of a significant irritation on one side of the body.

There are many other factors which increase the risk of stomach problems while running. Fast running is more likely to start a problem than slow, because fast running features higher ground-reaction forces and more dramatic and quicker movements of the diaphragm. Running on rough, hard ground also raises the risk of stomach problems, compared with pacing along on even, softer surfaces. Being out of condition can dramatically hike your risk of problems, as can starting out too fast in a competition.

What to do

Avoidance of chest-only breathing and an overly tight diaphragm is also extremely important; your diaphragm should feel like a large flap of rubber, and your stomach should move outward like a balloon when you inhale. If you strengthen and relax your diaphragm, breathe properly, fortify your abdominal muscles, warm up thoroughly prior to workouts and competitions, and refrain from dining and drinking more than you can handle before you exercise, it's very unlikely that stitches will limit your training or performances.

Comments

Submit a Comment

No comments yet.

working

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

Show Details
Necessary
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Features
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Marketing
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Statistics
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)