Abdominal Pain After Running: What’s Normal?

Mar 30, 2017 //

Abdominal pain after running is a very common problem, which may be benign or point to underlying issues. It can get worse if not taken care of, something that is usually done by identifying the root cause and then finding an appropriate solution.

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Find out why abdominal pain occurs during or after your runs, what may be causing it and what can be done about it.

A ‘Stitch’ In Your Side

One of the more common reasons for abdominal pain after running is having a stitch in your side. This is basically a result of pain in your abdominal walls. It occurs due to very vigorous breathing and is thought to come about because of a decreased oxygen supply to your muscles. A common solution is slowing down for a little while, bringing down the intensity of your run to a jog, until your breathing becomes more relaxed. Additionally, slowly massaging the area you experience pain in circular motions is also found to be effective by many runners.

The Gastrointestinal System

Another common area where abdominal pain may originate is the gastrointestinal system. Complaints of pain from this area may be the reason behind a lot of symptoms like eructation (belching), flatulence, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, bloating, intestinal cramps, and stomachache. Research suggests that running brings about more pain in the GI system as compared to activities like swimming and cycling, which is why athletes in a triathlon need to be careful when switching from running on to these activities.

Dehydration is also a major reason why pain in the GI system might come about. Lastly, abdominal pain after running may be affected by your diet and what you are consuming before your run, as this has a direct impact on your gastrointestinal system. For example, hypertonic beverages in the diet bring about more pain in the GI system, whereas a high level of fat or protein is one of the main reasons for increased vomiting.

Basic Solutions

The only way you can find a solution to abdominal pain after running is by identifying the root cause. Apart from that, a few general things that need to be kept in mind are as follows:

  • Make sure that you always stay hydrated. Carry a bottle of water or a drink that contains electrolytes in your running bag, and make sure you have it with you every time you go for a run.
  • Avoid hypertonic drinks or energy drinks, as they bring about an imbalance in the fluids and nutrients in your body and can cause tummy aches.
  • Make sure your diet isn’t high in dairy or sugar.
  • If you have trouble breathing, decrease your running speed for a while and listen to your body.