How Hormones Can Cause Flu-Like Symptoms After Exercise

Feeling sick after a workout can be discouraging. Exercise is supposed to make your body healthier and make you feel better, but there are times when you finish a workout and feel clammy and nauseated. This is due to a number of factors, all of which can make fitness an unpleasant experience.

By understanding the specific processes that your body undergoes while you work out, you can become more aware of how to handle the rush of hormones and your flu-like symptoms after an hour at the gym or a tough run.

Flu-Like Symptoms After Workout

The symptoms of hormone production and exercise-induced nausea can often masquerade as the flu. First of all, you might feel nauseated after your workout and may even feel the need to vomit. You might also feel faint and dizzy and need to sit down.

While you won't actually have a fever, you could find that you skin feels clammy to the touch, a sure sign that you've been exercising too hard without the proper nutrition, hydration or technique.

Human Growth Hormone

One of the issues that could be partially to blame for your flu-like symptoms while exercising is human growth hormone (HGH). HGH is secreted naturally when you exercise and is responsible for muscle tissue growth, bodily growth and collagen turnover.

But the release of the hormone can make you feel nauseated, especially when combined with other exercise factors. Because you can't control the release of HGH and because HGH is actually beneficial to your body, you need to learn to manage the symptoms properly.

Exercise-Induced Nausea

HGH is partially to blame for the phenomenon known as exercise-induced nausea. Even if you've never experienced the flu-like symptoms after working out yourself, you have likely seen it occur while watching your favorite fitness and weight loss television programs.

Exercise-induced nausea can have a severe effect on your ability to exercise, but HGH isn't the only factor to blame. Along with hormones, dehydration, poor nutrition and even high blood pressure can all be to blame.

During intense exercise, your body sends more blood to your hard-working muscles. This means that less blood is available to your digestive system. This can lead to food staying in your stomach longer, which can contribute to exercise-induced nausea. Changing the timing of meals can improve the way your body responds.

Read more: What Causes Throwing Up From Exercising?

Treatment and Prevention

Your body releases HGH naturally and it's a beneficial process that makes exercise even more valuable. Exercising at high intensity over a long period of time, however, could release HGH levels that make you experience flu-like symptoms after a workout.

Instead, try altering your workout patterns by interspersing bursts of high-intensity exercise with more moderate activities to monitor your flu-like symptoms.

Because nausea can also be the result of dehydration, aim to drink 7 to 10 ounces of water for every 10 to 20 minutes of exercise and make sure you eat a carbohydrate-rich snack before you hit the gym. Doing so tops up your energy reserves so you don't feel tired and sick while you work out.

Read more: Should You Exercise If You Are Dehydrated?

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, please see the National Library of Medicine’s list of signs you need emergency medical attention or call 911. If you think you may have COVID-19, use the CDC’s Coronavirus Self-Checker before leaving the house.
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