Causes of Sports Related Diarrhoea

Learn how exercise and sport can influence your gut - runner's trots is a common problem, but what causes it? Learn more here.

When you’re really fit, it can be hard to believe that exercise is making you ill. But running-induced diarrhoea is a well-known problem.

In fact, diarrhoea after running and other intense exercise is so common that it’s often known as “runner’s trots”. It’s characterised by loose, frequent bowel movements during a run or immediately afterwards.

But why? It’s been proven that food moves more quickly through the digestive system of athletes.

Although the root causes of diarrhoea while running and after running aren’t clear, factors that could play a part include:

  • Vigorous up-and-down movement of internal organs, stimulating the bowels
  • Decreased blood flow to the gut area
  • Changes in hormone secretion in the gut
  • Stress and anxiety brought on by pre-race nerves
  • Sportswear that fits around the waist too tightly
  • Overuse of energy gels and energy bars
  • Not drinking enough water and becoming dehydrated
  • Not emptying your bowels before exercise

Gastrointestinal problems are especially common in endurance athletes, such as long-distance runners. Putting your body through intensely demanding physical pursuits may make you more susceptible to health issues. Plus, the stress and anxiety of putting yourself through competitions may lead to other digestive health problems, such as constipation after exercise. 



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