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I'm an active and fit person, but whenever I go for a run, afterwards I typically get bad stomach cramps. Anything over 20 minutes or more than 3 miles long is my threshold where I'll get a stomach ache. My pace tends to be 8-9 minute miles, so it's not like I'm sprinting.

For example, yesterday I ran 5.5mi in an hour outside, and ate over 3 hours beforehand. Afterwards I was in a lot of pain.

I would guess it's caused by something in my diet, but I don't have problems with any other types of physical activities, such as indoor/outdoor soccer, Crossfit, or weight lifting. But then again, those activities are higher intensity and lower duration than my distance runs.

Note: I am not talking about side stitches, which I rarely get and is something different.

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Stomach or further down the intestine? –  Sarge Sep 26 '11 at 20:10
    
How long AFTER you run do the cramps start? Is it immediately or some short period thereafter? If it is not immediately, what are you eating/drinking afterwards? –  ngramsky Jul 10 '12 at 2:47
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4 Answers

Check out this LIVESTRONG article for some reasons why running might cause you to experience stomach pain. Given that you're running 3-5 miles at a relatively relaxed pace, here are some reasons that might apply to you:

  1. Dehydration/sodium depletion - even though you're not running that far or fast, if you don't hydrate properly that could be causing it
  2. Reduced blood flow to your intestines - while you run, more blood is flowing to your muscles and less is flowing to your intestines and stomach, which can cause GI problems
  3. The "up and down" of running - the motion of running is kind of jarring, given that you're constantly jumping up and down and hitting the pavement

Obviously to correct for #1 you could drink more water (for dehydration) or intake more sodium (for sodium depletion). I'm not sure what to do about 2 and 3, as they are both givens with running.

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Dehydration or hyponatremia are incredibly unlikely to happen in 3-5 miles. I would discount option 1. BTW, it either needs to be drink more water OR eat sodium depending on whether it's dehydration or hyponatremia. Mis-diagnosis and mis-treating can lead to death in either syndrome. –  Sarge Sep 27 '11 at 18:33
    
I agree that dehydration is unlikely to happen in 3-5 miles unless you're not hydrating properly. Changed my answer to say drink more water or intake more sodium depending on the cause. –  Lauren Sep 27 '11 at 18:46
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Sometimes I will also get pretty intense lower abdominal pain after I run. It feels like menstrual cramps and nausea and lasts about 20-30 minutes with several waves of cramping. In my case, it's usually when I run too early in the day after not having had enough water so I am dehydrated.

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I also get some pretty severe stomach pains after running, its usually the next morning but sometimes the evening after a particularly long run. I've seen my doctor several times for it because at first I didn't correlate the pain with running. She ran a barrage of tests and everything was fine (other than I was anemic with low vitamin D) so I was wracking my brain trying to figure out what would cause pain and sometimes bloating after a long run. In my case I think it is partially a hydration issue. I drink before and during a run, but not much after and if I don't force myself to drink thats when the pain is worse. I don't know if this matters but i've found that a sports drink (like gatorade) seems to help lessen the chance of pain afterward as well but i'm not sure why.

I am now experimenting with the type of food I eat before and after a run. It seems that if I eat something with a lot of carbs before or after I will be in more pain. Nuts and yogurt seem to so far be ok to eat before or after a run. Things like protein/granola bars seem to be a no go.

I don't know if that helps at all but that is what i've been doing because I definitely am not going to stop running.

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This happens to me too...they feel like the most intense menstrual cramps and only happen right after any run more than 3 miles. I think mine is related to the "blood flow" issue and I have started to cool down more and walk a fast paced mile after my run which tends to slowly let the blood flow back into the stomach area rather than all at once. I still get cramps but they aren't as bad as if I just stopped running. So maybe incorporate a longer cool down and see if walking for a bit after the run helps!

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