n International SportMed Journal - Gastrointestinal problems in distance running : review article




This article reviews the literature of gastrointestinal (GI) problems in runners. These problems commonly affect runners and some believe that they can hamper performance. Many physiologic processes, including the interplay of decreased transit time, absorptive effects, hormonal changes, and endotoxins breaching the bowel wall contribute to an incomplete understanding of the physiology behind the pathology. Upper GI pathology, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), nausea, and vomiting, can detract from the pleasurable aspects of running, while gastritis, hepatitis and pancreatitis can threaten the health of the athlete. Lower GI pathology, such as diarrhoea and colitis, can similarly taint the runner's experience. The authors examine various pathologies suspected of contributing to runner's anaemia, the side stitch, and the effect of running on previous GI pathology. Also discussed are important elements of history, physical examination, and treatments.


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