Monday, October 09, 2006

Bathroom Issues

Hey everyone. I have had quite a few people tell me they are having some issues with having to go to the bathroom during long runs. Some men may suffer from this, but the condition generally happens to women. A high percentage of female runners will experience this problem at some point in their lives. Since I personally don't suffer from this problem, I can only tell you what I have learned from my own studies and from talking to other runners with the problem. Having said that, I still believe I can help if this is a problem for you.

***NOTE*** If you do have personal experience with this issue please feel free to post a comment to help everyone. I think you can post anonymously if you want.

***NOTE #2*** I am not a doctor. What I say below is just what I have learned over the years, not medical advice. I can't be responsible for anything you might try from reading this article. Please remember that.

Here we go...

First off let's start with the basics. If you haven’t tried varying my diet, cutting out ibuprophen, not eating anything for HOURS before, etc. That should be the first place to begin. Apply only one at a time so you can pinpoint what might be the cause.

If none of those changes seem to help, try taking Immodium AD an hour or so before your long run. You can also take along some Immodium AD chew tablets to take during the run. This seems to work for many people. Here is a quote from someone about this remedy:

"I read a few months ago in a forum about the Immodium helping some people with similar problems so I started taking one every morning (the chewable kind, not that it makes a difference). My situation DRAMATICALLY improved. From what I've read so far there's no ill side effects with this therapy. Now before a race, long run or dinner out I take two that day and it's done the trick. I realize this might not work for everyone, but it was a Godsend to me. I feel like I got my life back! To all of you who suffer with this, I'm right there with you and sympathize immensely. "

The next tip may be a little extreme for people, and should only be used occasionally (I.E) right before a race). If it is a problem with muscle control some people use an enema before running anything "important", they flush you out pretty well and there are no medicinal effects. But, you wouldn't want to use one too regularly. Many women have problems after childbirth, and this could be an option for them... although a little extreme.

Your next option is to visit a Gastroenterologist. They have the medical knowledge to handle specific situation when given the full details. They specialize in gastrointestinal diseases and disorders and should be able to give you stronger medications or treatments if the tips above don't help. Don't be even the slightest bit embarrassed; believe me, they hear stuff like this 20 times a day. It's how they make a living. Make sure you visit one who has treated runners before. I have heard about people who go to the doctor and just get the Immodium bit and pushed out the door.

Next, I have heard that it is somewhat common for runners who have Crohn's disease to experience a need to go to the bathroom while running. I know it sounds scary, but this might be an avenue to check out if nothing is working.

Here is a tip you might not have thought of: acupuncture. Some people claim it can do wonders for all sorts of IBS syndromes and other GI symptoms. I am just passing this along...I have never done it, so take this tip for what it's worth. Here are some websites to help you find a qualified acupuncturist in you area.

Basically in conclusion, you just have to try a bunch of different things and see what works. My personal advice is to try the basic stuff first. If that doesn't work go for the Immodium AD. If that still doesn't do it, consider seeing a doctor. I hope this helps, and remember you are not alone in this problem. Many people run into this issue, and for the most part it can be taken care of.