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What Causes Vomiting When Running

by
author image Solomon Branch
Solomon Branch specializes in nutrition, health, acupuncture, herbal medicine and integrative medicine. He has a B.A. in English from George Mason University, as well as a master's degree in traditional Chinese medicine.
What Causes Vomiting When Running
A runner is bent over on the running path. Photo Credit m-gucci/iStock/Getty Images

Vomiting while running is sometimes considered a sign of endurance and accomplishment but it is not healthy. Rather it is a sign that something is out of balance in your body. Overexertion, dehydration and low blood sugar are common causes of vomiting, especially if you are running for long distances or at great intensity. If you find that your are continually vomiting when running, despite making adjustments to your regimen or dietary habits, consult a doctor.

Features

Vomiting while running is often preceded by cramps, nausea or a light-headed or dizzy feeling. Other symptoms can occur, such as belching, bloating and abdominal pain. Vomiting can happen after a long session of running or in the middle of running, depending on the cause. If the vomiting happens soon after you have started running, it is probably due to over consumption of food or liquids.

Causes

When you run, your body shunts blood to your extremities, away from your digestive system. If you have eaten too soon before working out, your digestive process will be impaired, which can easily lead to nausea and vomiting. On the other hand, running on an empty stomach can lead to hypoglycemia -- low blood sugar -- which can also cause nausea and vomiting.

Dehydration and over-hydration have a similar effect. Overexertion can cause vomiting because your body is emptying out liquids so it can absorb the buildup of acid that occurs. Other causes can include allergies -- due to a buildup of phlegm, anxiety, eating the wrong foods and illness. In some cases, an underlying gastrointestinal disorder may be causing the vomiting

Prevention

Stay hydrated before, during and after running by drinking small sips of water at a time; avoid over-hydration which also causes vomiting. Eat smaller meals two to four hours before running to make sure you have enough fuel but are giving your body enough time for proper digestion. If you forget to eat, consuming a small snack not less than 30 minutes before running should not cause a problem.

When you start to feel nausea coming on during running, slow down and reduce your pace. Rest for a moment until the feeling of nausea goes away. Pace yourself while running and don't push yourself to the point of vomiting. Avoid eating foods and substances that can irritate your intestinal tract, including caffeine, alcohol, spices, artificial sweeteners, and non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen.

Considerations

If adjusting your drinking and eating habits or adjusting your level of intensity don't stop your vomiting, consult a doctor for a diagnosis. Discuss any allergies you have or medications you are taking to see if they are possibly causing your problem. If you have other symptoms such as dizziness, dry mouth or confusion and fatigue when you vomit, seek immediate medical attention.

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