THE CLINIC: Nausea on the Run

Fri, 24 May 2013 - 10:14 p.m. MT
Credit: ARA Staff - American Running Association

QUESTION:

During marathons at about the three-hour mark I’ve developed a pattern of becoming nauseated. This is recent; I’ve been running for 19 years and until this year have not experienced this problem. Worse, I cannot ingest a PowerGel or other food, and it’s affecting my performance. My recent Ironman competition went well for the first two legs, but by mile six of the run my stomach began cramping and that continued for the next hour and a half. I vomited during miles 19 through 24. What can I do to alleviate this problem? I'm a 33-year-old female weighing 118 pounds.

Lynn Laci

Santa Cruz, CA

ANSWER:

There is a normal reduction of blood flow to the digestive tract during exercise, but this occurs early and remains so throughout the exercise, so it would not be the cause of a problem this late in the event. The fact that these symptoms occur well into these extended events suggests dehydration or electrolyte imbalance is affecting peristalsis. When peristalsis, the muscle contractions that propel food along the digestive tract, is interrupted, nausea and vomiting can result. You should prehydrate with sports drink containing sodium, and continue to hydrate throughout the exercise period. Peristalsis is very sensitive to salt and water imbalance in the intestinal tract. Many runners restrict their nutrient intake late in the race to fluid-only. Be sure to experiment on long training runs with various foods—your intestinal tract needs to be trained for an endurance event in the same way your other muscles and organs do.

Dennis D. Daly, MD

Camillus, NY

 

 

(RUNNING & FITNEWS® September / October 2011 • Volume 29, Number 5)

 

 

 

 

DISCLAIMER: The medical information on this site is provided as an information resource only and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information is not intended to be patient education, does not create any patient-physician relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment. Please consult your health care provider before making any healthcare decisions or for guidance about a specific medical condition. Clinic pieces are edited and details are changed. In some cases pieces represent composites from several queries to, and answers from, the Clinic Advisory Board.

 

The American Running Association (ARA) and its Clinic Advisory Board disclaims responsibility and shall have no liability for any consequences suffered as a result of your reliance on the information contained in this site. ARA does not endorse specifically any test, treatment, or procedure mentioned on this site.




Latest News
Luxury Cruise Fitness: It Can Be Done
Luxury Cruise Fitness: It Can Be Done

Aug 02 1:02 p.m.

Article by: Jeff Venables

Comrades Ultra - Loose and Fun = Success
Comrades Ultra - Loose and Fun = Success

Jun 04 12:26 p.m.

Article by: Rick Ganzi, M.D.

Young Milers in Anaheim CA love running
Young Milers in Anaheim CA love running

May 15 3:03 p.m.

Article by: Jeff Venables

Catch Them If You Can
Catch Them If You Can

Apr 08 7:22 p.m.

Article by: Jeff Venables

New Roles of Sports Chiropractic
New Roles of Sports Chiropractic

Feb 21 11:15 a.m.

Article by: Jeff Venables