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Bloody diarrhea after running
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Bloody diarrhea after running

Hi,
This question is a follow-up to another I read on this forum.  I have been a runner all of my life, but had to slow down due to my 2 pregnancies.  After I had my first baby, I got back into running and was doing great.  Then I was running a 10K, and 1/2 way through I had severe stomach cramps and had to find a restroom.  I had bloody diarrhea which really scared me.  I walked the rest of the race...had a bit more blood in my stools and then back to normal.  Not long after that I got pregnant with my 2nd child and stopped running again (never had bloody stools after that one day).  Now it has been 7 months after giving birth and I began to run again.  I've been training for a 5K and running pretty hard.  After about a week of training I started getting bad stomach cramps and the bloody diarrhea came back.  The diarrhea is bring red in color and after I go, the next time I have a bowel movement it is still a little red (but more firm), and then back to normal.  The stools are normal again until I run really hard.  My doctor doesn't know what it is and has referred me to a GI specialist.  My doctor checked me for hemorrhoids (both internal and external) and she said that wasn't it.  She also checked me for an anal fissure...that was a negative also.  Has anyone else had this problem?  Does this sound like bowel cancer?  


This discussion is related to Blood in Stool - After Running?.
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Avatar_m_tn

You don't say how old you are - but the more sinister diseases that can accompany rectal bleeding tend to occur at age 40+.  However, I suggest that you ask for a colonoscopy as a way of providing (hopefully) maximum reassurance.

regards
Morecambe
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Avatar_n_tn
hi, I have had the same problem after a couple of my runs. I also stop running while I am preg. and start again after breastfeeding. This is the first time I have had this problem. Please let me know if you find out anything!! Kristy
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Avatar_n_tn
I have a similar problem after running longer distances and I am only 21.  My doctor says the stomach ache its just gas build up and he hasn't gotten back about the blood (only happened twice now) and diarrhea.  I would appreciate it if any of you hear back about what it could be.
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Avatar_m_tn
I ended up having a colonoscopy and the results came back normal.  He also did a MRI on the blood flow to the colon (to see if there were any blockages) which also came back normal.  The GI specialist said it is very rare...but he thinks it is exercise induced Ischemic colitis.  He has seen a couple of other patients with the same condition.  He said I would have to stop running altogether in order not to potentially "kill" part of the bowel (due to blood restriction).  Since the diagnosis, I have been jogging very slowly and doing other forms of exercise (walking, riding a bike) without a problem.  I have done a couple of road races and the blood came back...so I have to go really slow.  I hope this helps!
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Avatar_f_tn
Thank you for your post.  I am a 35 yr old mother of two who took up running almost 2 years ago.  About 7 months ago I also started having blood in my stool and fatigue after a hard run- it takes a few day to go back to normal -but this condition has made me weak at times.  My GI performed a colonoscopy and endoscopy - which both came back normal.  I also started doing softer runs and other forms of excercise which have helped- once I run hard It happens again!!!  I have been at my wits end-so thank you for your post, at least I know it could be something similar to your story.  I'll follow up with my doctor.  
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Avatar_f_tn
I just had a race today, had another bought of bloody diarrhea after it was over.  Your January 26, 2009 post EXACTLY described my situations & symptoms. I really hope your still check this website b/c I am concerned about what's happening with my body and want to know what you found out. I also have have 2 babies (now 4 and 9 months). I never had this issue until after baby #2. Now, when I train hard or race, I get stomach cramps, followed by bloody diarrhea that within a bowel mvmt or two, goes away.  It's bright red and scares me. I hope to hear that you found help.  Thanks.
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Avatar_f_tn
I have just run a 14km race today and struggled with stomache cramps the whole way (not uncommon for me), howeer once I finished I had to rush to the toilets. Like yourself I had very bloody diarrhea and it really freaked me out. Later I had another cramp with similiar result and since then nothing, except for vaguely uncomfortable cramps. I am 38 and have 3 children, the youngest being 3yrs, I have always had a problem with exercise induced diarrhea but this is getting ridiculous. I asked by doctore about it recently and she said a bit of blood wasn't a major concern- this however was quite excessive. I too have had colonoscopies and endoscopies all with normal results. I loved running and would hate to stop but I really wonder if it worth all this discomfort. I will be back to the doctor this week... all the best... keep us posted.
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Avatar_f_tn
your jan 31 '10 post to debbiemc2000 really resonated with me.  i've been doing a lot of internet research lately into "runner's trots".  I too experience what appears to be blood in my stool after a run.  what struck me about your post is that it is the only reference i've seen thus far to the resulting weakness and fatigue.  after a bout with this problem, I am sick, weak and hurting for a few days.  i've not seen this mentioned anywhere else but in your post.  since your post was back in january, i am wondering if you''ve found any solutions in the mean time? I am scheduled to run an 8K in four weeks, so I would hate to take a break from training right now. but like some of the other posters, I feel this is getting ridiculous.  running used to make me feel good.  now, i am sick all the time.  by the time i start to feel a little better, it is time to run again.  if you've found anything that's helped, I would be very interested to hear.
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Avatar_m_tn
I ran a trail race yesterday that was 3.3 miles longer than I had run before.  As soon as I finished I had to run to the restroom with diarrhea.  When I got home I had severe abdominal pain, more diarrhea, was exhausted and cold, but no blood.  Today I'm no longer weak, exhausted or having diarrhea but still have severe abdominal pain and have started passing blood with very small stools. I'm over 40 and this is the first time this has ever happened.  Had a physical inculding fecal occult (negative) on Thursday.  The only thing I can attribute it to is the run.  May have to keep it to shorter runs...
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Avatar_n_tn
I must say I'm relieved to see these symptoms are common among a few of us, at least.  

My intestines, unfortunately, always freak after long runs.  The need for immediate evacuation is no joke and seems to occur more frequently during summer runs--and this summer was a nightmare with temps 95+ for weeks on end.  So, I amped up electrolyte replacement with no noticeable difference.  

I, too, notice the occassional bloody mucous in the stools, crazy cramping and less frequent  nausea which I chalked up to the effort of endurance running.  After my shorter run this morning, a perfect-paced 9 miler in ever so slightly cooler temps, I felt the familar cramping as I was finishing up.  The amount of bloody mucous in my stool scared the (ahem) crap out of me--especially since this was  a shorter run for me.  Cramping continues...ugh.

Someone posted something about reducing sugar/carbs.  I get my carbs from fruits, veggies and occassional whole grain bread.  My mileage requires fuel and I'm trying to keep it healthy.  The no-carb option doesn't fuel muscles for endurance so I can't go there.  Other dietary ideas?

I'm over 50; I've not had a colonoscopy for 5 years so I'm due--and I will follow up.  Thanks for posting, folks.  This isn't easy to talk about but it helps to have some idea about what's up.
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Avatar_n_tn
Just wanted to add that this always happens to me following a hard run.  The mileage doesn't seem to matter but if I up my pace a good bit or just run hard, I'm running for the bathroom when I'm done.  Its only happened twice in the year I've been running but its scary and I am thankful, like the others, no matter what the docs say, to see that it is a little common.  I am female, 35, and have 3 children.  The blood that passes with my stool when this happens though, tends to be darker, almost maroon, not bright red like with hemorrhoids.  I do wish someone had an answer.  Feeling the pain with you,
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I am a female runner, two children... one by c-section.  There's a host of things that I've been educating myself about since my bloody trots have started.  I have had an endoscopy and colonoscopy this week and both were negative for anything conclusive causing the bleeding.  Does any other female other than me find that the bleeding seems more rampant once it's close to or close after that time of the month?  I haven't had any bleeding except when it's been close to my period.  Just wondering if anyone else has noticed that.  Also, if that's the case, I might have endometriosis but that should have turned up in my colonoscopy.


A friend of mine who is a distance runner that's male that has been through the same thing as me (minus the periods, of course) said that he was told his might be Ischemia colitis which runners get and is common.  He was told to hydrate, hydrate and hydrate and that helps the colon to not get so dried out - kinda like a bloody nose in the winter when the heat is high and humidity is low.  
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I am having a problem with this as well.  I am 35 with 4 young children.  I run about 35-40 miles a week including a long run like 12ish on the weekends.  I have been experiencing bloody diarrhea since I've gotten into distance running heavily since having my last child who is now 28 months.  I don't always get bloody diarrhea after a longer run, but it does seem to coorelate with getting closer to my period.  I can deal with it but just want to make sure all is ok and I'm not causing permanent damage.  I've had a colonoscopy and bloodwork and all have came back fine.  Even negative for stool occult blood which shocked me!  Its just not very pleasant at all to experience and my non runner friends tell me its my body telling me to stop running!  I am so glad I am not alone in this.  I really don't want to stop running, I don't know what I would do with myself, its such a needed thing for me!  I'm definately addicted and I nor my family would like myself w/out me running!  Would love to hear some solutions to this.  I am going to try to stay more hydrated, I definately don't hydrate much while running.  Just before and after.  Thanks for all the info here.
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I am so relieved after having read everyone's posts this morning.  I just came back from a 4mile trail run, and had to run to the bathroom & shockingly had bloody diarrhea (bright red & quite a bit). I am a 37 year old female with 3 kids- 8 and twin 5 year olds. I have been a casual runner 3-4 miles a couple times a week for 3 years.   In the past 6 months I have amped up my running to 4-6 miles 3-4 times per week. I have had 3 episodes of bloody diarrhea, all with varying degrees of intensity during this time.  It is not uncommon for me to have diarrhea after running, but the blood part is new. I have found that if I don't go to the bathroom before I run it is more likely to happen.  I also found a correlation with that time of the month.  Thank goodness it does not happen every time. I will have to call my doctor this week to have things checked out, but hearing similar stories to mine makes me a little less worried. I hope all checks out OK .
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Avatar_m_tn
I too have had this problem over the past two to three years or so. Intermittently.  It is definitely worse in the summer months and around my period.  I don't have bloody diarrhea after every workout either.  Only hard or long runs.  The diarrhea usually lasts for a few hours then the next day I am fine, usually.  I have read many places on the internet about it.  Since it was worse in the summer I assume hydration has something to do with it. I took a few pieces of advice and cut down on my fiber intake the day before a long run and then I ate a bagel with creamcheese that morning, two hours before I ran and drank 2 glasses of water. I also drank some G2 about half way through my 10 mile run.  I did have a bowelmovement after, but not as loose, and not much blood.  I plan to keep this up.  I did talk to my doctor today about this and she suggested that I see a gastroenterologist just in case.  Especially since there is blood present.  She said it might be endometriosis.  I am 38 with 3 kids and have been running since I was 12 with a few months off here and there, and I didn't run during any of my pregnancies.  I will probably end up having a colonoscopy, but I will try to get  back with any findings.  
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Avatar_n_tn
I've had similar experiences - Bloody BM just before or after my menses. Recently the bleeding has accelerated and now I'm bleeding quite frequently. SCARY! Had a consultation with GI doc and asked about endo. He said it is very rare to show up in the colon( meaning he was not taking me seriously). I have a colonoscopy set for next month. Very relieved to find this post.
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Avatar_f_tn
I am very relieved to find this forum. I have had blood in my stools while running long or hard speed work for almost 5 years. I am an endurance runner who has 3 children, the youngest is 3 months. The loose stools with blood is almost a guarantee with my hard runs. I usually can't wait until its over and often have them once or twice in the middle of my runs. I also have the fatigue that others have mentioned and will have to rest during my runs. The blood in stool only happens for me during hard or long runs and it never lasts into the next day, only directly related to the running. Not running is not an option.I had a colonoscopy 2 years ago because of this issue and it was normal as well. I am going to make another Drs appointment but find it very interesting that there is so many of us that have this and no one has received a diagnosis of any kind.
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I'm a mother of an 11 year old runner.  She is part of cross country and cheerleading at her school.  In Sept.  she started to have brownish blood after running.  We went to her primary care and she did some tests and found that the blood was coming from her stools.  The doctor  thinks that it is a fissure so we tried Miralax to soften stool so it could heal.  She was on it 3 months straight and seemed to be better.  I slowly took her off the Miralalx and found that she started the bleeding again.  Back to the doctor we go!
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Avatar_f_tn
I've had all the same symptoms: (out of nowhere) 2 years ago after kids turned 4 and 6 I (at 46) started having maroon stools (not quite diarrhea) after running.  Happens more around my period, but not exclusively.  Had a Sigmoidoscopy (don't recommend that) which came back just fine.  

It only goes away when I stop running, but I don't want to stop.  I'm afraid we all sound like exercise bullemics.  Has anyone found an answer?
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I have just come from emergency room in which I've spent 2 hrs for the initial tests of acute onset "bloddy diarrhea". It was a weird feeling in the morning since I felt like as if I would have my menses- I mean the floating sensation. But I knew that I had 2 more weeks ahead for my menses. During the day I felt as if I would have diarrhea and in the afternoon there it came! And worse than a diarrhea was the bloody diarrhea. With a panic I went to the hospital and had my initial tests done. Everything (hemogram, stool exam, urinanalysis, CRP etc), came up normal. I will have to go on with further tests- at least to get relieved. But so far no proof! By the way, I am 38 yo, with two sons of 4& 6 years old. I run at a pace of 8 mph for 20 min.s 3 times/week. I am not sure if I can call myself a runner, but I run. I hope I am also having such an innocent diagnosis as yours :) As a doctor myself, I will also discuss this issue with my doctor. I will share if I learn something. Greetings to all from Istanbul.
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Avatar_m_tn
Hi again,
I just wanted to give everyone an update on my situation.  There are a couple of things I have learned that I need to do in order to continue to run.  1.  Drink a lot of liquids.  I have never really been one to drink enough liquids, and I don't like to very much before I run because after having 2 kids it's a little hard to hold it in...but it is completely necessary.  I end up running with a pad, but the hydration does help.  Apparently, when you are well hydrated it makes your blood thinner and therefore it has an easier time going to the bowel and not causing the "restriction of blood flow" as much.  2.  Training and progressing very slowly.  Again, I am one to just get up and go.  Sometimes I don't train for a couple of weeks and then take off and run a 5K.  I'm pretty impatient when it comes to slowly getting into running, but this condition has forced me to be.  I start off very slow and for short distances and then progressively speed it up and run longer.  I'd love to hear if anyone has discovered anything else.  Thanks for all the posts!  It's such a relief to know I'm not the only one with this problem.
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Avatar_f_tn
I am 45, female and have the same problem, only mine is nearly every time I run now, feel sort of sick the rest of the day, stool is loose and bloody.  There is one exception that I have noticed:  on a couple of runs, I not only had no bleeding, but didn't have a bowel movement the rest of the day, suggesting to me that I only bleed if there is stool in the lower colon aggravating it.  On my long run this week, I am going to give myself a small enema to completely empty the lower colon to see if that makes a difference.  I sure appreciate everyone's comments--very helpful and encouraging!
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Avatar_n_tn
Hey All--
Updating from my previous post (2010).  Please go see your doctor.  It might be nothing or it might be something.  Better to know!  My pattern:  bleeding ONLY after runs of 90 mins+ duration.  5 (ugh) colonoscopies with no diagnosis later (yes, really) I headed to Georgetown University Medical Center.  Diagnosis 6/11:  Runners Ischemia.  Theory: for some, taxed leg muscles need more blood to bring fuel to muscles, body shunts blood from closest organ (intestines) to assist.  Cells in intestines suffer from reduced blood flow, die and slough off causing cramping and bleeding.  Seems to make sense but it's just a theory.  Status:  backed off to run every other day no longer than 60 mins this summer with no bleeding.  Now with cooler weather I'm testing myself by slowly increasing distance, still every other day.  Now up to 85 mins, no stopping, no bleeding.  I'll keep inching it up and see what happens.  BTW, Spin on the off days maintains aerobic capacity, strengthens legs and will help keep you sane and in shape while working through this stuff!  But please, do be persistent. Head to a university medical center if your community MDs can't figure it out.  You'll feel better when you know more about your own situation.
Good luck everyone!
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Avatar_f_tn
Just following up on my experience.  I am training for a marathon, but was having the bloody stool after most of my runs, feeling sick the rest of the day, fine the following day.  I mentioned before that I had a couple of random days with no bleeding at all after long runs, but also didn't have a bowel movement that day, suggesting that the lower  colon was pretty empty.  So my theory is that if it is Ischemia, it is irritated by having stuff in my lower bowel.  So I ran 15 miles yesterday, but after going to the bathroom, I had a small enema, very cheap at the drugstore, to just clean out my lower bowel.  NO need to go during the run, NO blood or mucous at the end, and didn't even have to go the rest of the day!  This is a breakthrough for me because I was in serious distress about it.  My bowels have been fine and happy and I am convinced that if there is any stuff that moves down while you are running, it causes or exacerbates the problem.  Hope this helps someone--it has made my day and my running!
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Did any of you also have pink/orange tinged urine?
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