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exercise induced bowel movements
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exercise induced bowel movements

over the last two years or so, it is increasingly more difficult for me to have a bowel movement without engaging in some kind of physical activity.  i am used to exercising on a daily basis, however when i do, i can sometimes have up to 5 bowel movements during that time.  i am really concerned about this because progressively it seems that if i do not have multiple eliminations, then i feel very gassy and bloated.  is there something i can do for this?  obviously, it interferes with normal acitivities such as going on a trip, working out places other than my home.  i am in very good shape.  eat well overall.  but i do not drink enough water and have not experimented to see if that may be something that would help.  please help!
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Changes in bowel movement habits have many causes and may vary from patient to patient.  Many different medical conditions can also cause constipation. Examples include hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid), pregnancy, irritable bowel syndrome, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, spinal cord injuries, and colon cancer. In addition, medications used for pain, muscle spasms, depression, mineral deficiencies, high blood pressure, and heart disease can often be associated with constipation.

To evaluate for more serious medical causes, you may want to consider an endoscopy - such as a flexible sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy.  This can evaluate for anatomical abnormalities and more serious medical disorders.  More specialized testing, including anorectal manometry - to evaluate abnormalities in the anorectal muscles - can be considered.

If all the tests are negative, then it is possible that the bowel habits are part of normal patient variation.  Irritable bowel syndrome can also be considered if the testing remains non-revealing.

Followup with your personal physician is essential.

This answer is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice - the information presented is for patient education only. Please see your personal physician for further evaluation of your individual case.

Thanks,
Kevin, M.D.

Bibliography:
Wald.  Patient information: Constipation.  UptoDate, 2004.
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