A Road Racer’s Curse: Handling Runner’s Trots.

A Road Racer’s Curse: Handling Runner’s Trots.

Runner’s trots is a condition more formally known as exercise-related loose stools. Like the name suggests, this condition often rears its head when you run, but it can also occur for walkers. The issue is more common than you might think – according to some studies, as many as 50 percent of distance runners and walkers will experience runner’s trots at some point. If you find yourself dealing with this uncomfortable and inconvenient issue, there are several things you can do to prevent it or at least cope with the symptoms.

Why Does it Happen?

The cause of runner’s trots is somewhat ambiguous. The movement of your body while you run may jostle your bowels and affect your blood flow, which can trick your body into thinking it needs to expel waste. A diversion of blood flow to your legs can also cause cramping or loose stools. If you don’t stay hydrated while you run you are even more at risk of coming down with a case of the runner’s trots.

What are the Symptoms?

The symptoms of this disorder are related to your intestines. Cramps, gas, and even pain may be the first symptoms, followed by diarrhea. You may experience these symptoms while you are working out, or they may not begin until after your work out is complete. Each person has slightly different symptoms, so bear in mind that you may only have diarrhea with no gas and cramping, and still be experiencing runner’s trots.

How Can I Prevent Them?

The easiest way to deal with this medical issue is through prevention. Don’t eat for two hours before you go on a run. Food in your stomach may initiate runner’s trots, especially dairy products. Remember that caffeine can speed up the movement of waste, and don’t drink soda or coffee in the hours before a run or long walk. Drink plenty of fluids so that you aren’t dehydrated to start your race or walk.

How to Deal With Runner’s Trots

While there is no real cure for this issue, you can certainly cope with the disorder. Aside from the prevention steps already mentioned, you can consult with a doctor about taking anti-diarrhea medications for especially long runs, though they are typically not recommended for long term use. Plan your runs for after your daily bowel movement if possible, and go on routes where there will be intermittent restrooms available for use. Certain anti-gas medicines may also help you with cramping symptoms.

Runner’s trots can be painful, but they are more of an uncomfortable inconvenience that might hinder you from wanting to exercise. If you watch your diet and run during times when are least likely to need to use the restroom, such shortly after you have already had a bowel movement, you can reduce your risk of even encountering runner’s trots. If you can’t find relief, see a doctor because a more serious intestinal disorder may be to blame.