If you notice a bit of blood after an an intense ab workout and feel sick to your stomach, you may panic. And rightfully so -- these symptoms aren't ones to ignore. However, spotting and nausea after an ab workout usually passes quickly and is a fairly normal, temporary reaction to intense exercise -- especially at certain times of the month. Hemorrhoids may also result in a little unexplained blood.
Before dismissing the episode, make absolutely sure you aren't pregnant. Spotting and nausea can occur at the time of implantation, but can also be a sign of an early miscarriage.
Result of a Normal Cycle
Due to declined estrogen levels at the time of ovulation, you may experience slight bleeding. This often occurs about mid-way between periods -- anywhere from 10 to 19 days after your menstrual cycle. Other signs of ovulation include cramping -- which might manifest as nausea -- and bloating. It's not the ab exercises that caused you to ovulate, they just happened at the same time.
The spotting could also be the first appearance of your regular menstrual cycle. Do a little calendar math and see if it's happening approximately a month after your last one, but anything from 21 and 35 days between cycles is normal. Nausea sometimes accompanies this time of the month.
In rare cases, an infection or polyp can cause mid-cycle spotting. If the bleeding is abnormal for you, or continues, consult your doctor to ensure everything is OK.
If you are pregnant and feel nauseous and spot after any workout, including an abs workout, consult your doctor immediately. It may be nothing to worry about, but it could be an early indication that something is going wrong.
Even if you don't think you are pregnant, but are sexually active, it's possible the bleeding is a sign that a fertilized egg has settled into your uterus. Light pink or brown spotting could be a sign of this implantation, especially if it occurs around the time of your normal period but doesn't continue to flow as usual. Consider taking a pregnancy test -- as the spotting and nausea are possible early pregnancy signs.
Bleeding may be coming from your rectum in the case of hemorrhoids, which are a result of swelling in the rectal/anal area. You may still experience spotting in your underwear, but the color will be bright red or pink from the open sores. You'll likely experience itching and swelling in the region too. Being older than age 50, and regular intense strength training are risk factors for developing hemorrhoids. A diet poor in fiber and lack of hydration also make you more susceptible to hemorrhoids.
If during abdominal exercise you push more with your anus rather than with your ab muscles, you could aggravate hemorrhoids or cause internal ones to prolapse, or drop, so that they cause external bleeding.
Nausea isn't a usually related to hemorrhoids, but could occur due to other unrelated reasons. If you go into your workout under-fueled or over-fueled, you might feel nauseous during ab exercises; eat about one to two hours before you do intense work. Gulping a large amount of water just before crunching and twisting is another possible cause. Stay hydrated during exercise, but take several minute after drinking before you do targeted ab moves.