Sore Stomach After I Swim

Teenage girls (14-17) floating on water, elevated view
A sore stomach after swimming is often a minor concern. (Image: David De Lossy/DigitalVision/Getty Images)

Having a sore stomach following a swim can be caused by a variety of issues, so it’s important to determine the source for proper healing and future prevention. Each swim session may be triggering pain, but it’s unlikely that swimming will cause serious injury to your organs. Keeping your core muscles healthy will also improve your swimming, making you more torpedo-like so that you can spear through the water in a straight line, according to swimsmooth.com.

Stomach Gas

When swimming, you turn your head to breathe, requiring you to exhale and inhale. This can cause you to gulp and swallow air and water, which may lead to bloating, belching, excess gas, a sore stomach and cramping. Eat small, more frequent meals before and after you swim to help prevent stomach gas.

Abdominal Muscle Strain

When your abdominal wall is stretched or torn due to vigorous activity, it can result in muscle strain. Healing time will differ depending on the level of the injury. Do not engage in activities that require the use of these muscles, and ice the area for 15 to 20 minutes for up to four days after you are injured. When you do return to swimming, use heat on the injured area for 10 minutes prior to your swim to warm-up your muscles.

Constipation

Another possible condition could be constipation, which can cause a sore, bloated or cramped stomach. Hydration often causes constipation, so drink a lot of water before and after you swim. Also, consume high-fiber foods such as fruits, veggies and whole grains to keep your digestive track working properly. Monitor your daily bowel movements to determine if this could be the root of your problem.

Tips and Considerations

Stretch your abdomen before engaging in any swimming activity. Lie flat on the floor face down, keep your lower-body muscles still and push yourself up with your arms. When you feel your core stretch, hold the position for 30 seconds. Place your feet shoulder-width apart and stand up straight. Gently tilt to one side until you feel your oblique muscle in your side stretch, hold the position for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side. If a sore stomach persists for more than a week and you are unable to determine the root of the problem, consult a doctor.

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