running while running

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In The Bushes asks:

I am a long distance runner -- that is, I run marathons. I also suffer from IBS. My problem is: I often have to make a "run" for the bushes while I'm out on a run. And then it burns like hellfire! The worst is that I sometimes do training runs with other people, and then they have to wait for me to do my business. I have found that if I don't eat for at least twelve hours before a long run, I can usually make it; but then, of course, I run out of steam somewhere around the 15th mile. Any suggestions?





Dear In The Bushes,

Thanks for the question. As I don't personally run anywhere (except to the store for wine), I am going to have to just use some plain old common sense here.

Exercise such as jogging or running can really stir up the bowels. (Someone told me this once.) That's why I don't run. That, plus the fact that I am basically a very lazy person.

Seriously, if I were in your shoes, I would first:

  1. Ask my doctor what to do.
  2. Follow a VERY low fat, high fiber diet for two days before a run.
  3. Perhaps try a gentle enema such as Fleets about two hours prior to the run.

Bear in mind that I have no medical reasons for this advice, except for A. The other things wouldn't hurt you to try.

I am sure the other highly trained athletes who frequent PoopReport will chime in with more advice for you, so check back in.

Thanks for asking Poonurse!

Please be advised that I am only a Poonurse. I am NOT a medical doctor. Any advice I give should be taken moderate skepticism. Please consult a REAL medical doctor if you feel you have a serious medical condition.

-- Poonurse

Poonurse is an RN with 25 years experience in labor and delivery. Her qualifications include seeing a lot of poop, and owning a computer. Also, she works in Michigan, which she calls the asshole of the universe, so that's another bit of credibility.

Got a question for her?












39 Comments on "running while running"

Dumping Jack Splash's picture
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Whilst not being particularly highly trained I do do a lot of running (I'm a member of the Hash House Harriers. If you don't know who they are look them up on Google!!)

99% of the time the mere prospect of going for a long run is enough to produce a crap - hence I'm OK on the run. If that doesn't work I find that whilst running there is a (partial?) shut down of the digestive system when exercising which helps get me through. I suspect its the IBS that is causing all your (and your fellow runners) distress!!

My advice - don't take up triathlons.......

In The Bushes's picture
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Just an update:
I am running the Boston Marathon on Monday and have decided to try out immodium. I know I am taking some risks, especially since I won't be running again for a week or two afterward, but i have also stocked up on metamucil, so I think it should be ok. I will give an update after the fact.

And, about the Harriers - yeah, I've always been curious about going on a Harriers run, but haven't ever done it.

daphne's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardSite AdminComment Content ModeratorComment Quality Moderatore 6000+ points
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Our friend George ran the Marathon in Greece about ten years ago. He made the mistake of drinking orange juice while running, something that he had never done, and had to poop right there and then.
Well, he went into the bushes by the road, then he rejoined the race and finished in the top 10 percent anyways.
Well, that's his lesson to not do anything new during a marathon.

.....hugging bunnies since 1969
www.daphneszoo.com

The Shit Volcano's picture
Comment Quality Moderatorh 3000+ points
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I would say that if you are running enough to drop shit out your ass you are probably running too much. The human body was never meant to run for long distances. Even the cheetah only runs at 70 mph for short bursts.

I found Jesus! He was behind the sofa the whole time!

DrLove0378's picture
m 1+ points - Newb
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And now... Deep Thoughts. By Jack Handey.

"Ever wondered why a horse can take a dump while running, but it has to stand in one place to pee?"

poop-aches's picture
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Just a note to "shit volcano" -- I have run marathons, but even going for a short run (ie: 20 minutes), I have issues. My stomach hurts and I have to rush home to the toilet. So - just saying its more than an issue of running too long!!!

Poop on the Run's picture
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I ALWAYS have to go in the middle of a run. It's to the point I bought a treadmill so I'd be close to the bathroom. :( I don't know what to do! I ALWAYS go before I run, but then it's urgent in the middle of the run and I have to walk home so I don't crap my pants! What can I do?? Help me!!!

MarathonPooper's picture
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I too had considered buying a treadmill but realize marathons aren't held there. I recently found DIGESTIVE ADVANTAGE for IBS, a probiotic supplement, and an IBS website that says SOLUABLE FIBER is best. After 2weeks I have had only 1 problem "run" that I had to walk.

Anonymous Coward's picture
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I have the same issue as many of you, and it's about to drive me crazy!! It doesn't matter WHEN I run, I have MAJOR bathroom problems. I'm getting ready to participate in an IBS study throgh my GI doctor's office. The study is testing the use of an antibiotic for IBS. The drug is already used to help prevent "Montezuma's Revenge". Hopefully it will help the IBS!! (and hopefully I won't get the placibo...)

MSG's picture
Comment Quality Moderatori 2000+ points
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One of my uncles, born around 1906, used to tell the story of impromptu drag races (say 1920 or so) between horses and cars. The family (five brothers, including my father) had a horse that loved to run, so they would hitch him to a wagon, and a couple of the boys would incite the horse to race against a car going down one of the country roads. The horse would run flat out and poop voluminously while running--but he would always beat the car. The boys, riding right behind the horse, would arrive home, victorious but splattered with fresh horse dung, and my grandmother would look disgusted and say, "Racing again, eh? Better clean up."

Vanilla Dolphin's picture
m 1+ points - Newb
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"3. Perhaps try a gentle enema such as Fleets about two hours prior to the run."

Fleet's? 'Gentle??' Are you kidding me???

Yeah, I suppose you COULD take the stuff prior to the event, but it won't be a marathon you'll be running - it'll be a relay - from your sofa to the bathroom - for hours on end. There is absolutely nothing 'gentle' about Fleet's!

_______
"...[the turd] smelled like a road-kill possum raised on a diet of carp, wrapped in dog shit, inside a burning tire with a bag of hair in the sewers of Calcutta." - C Everett Poop

"...I once ate a roadkill possum that had been raised on a diet of carp. I cooked it over a fire fueled with old tires and dog shit. [My fart] put to shame the sewers of Calcutta."
- ChiefThunderbutt

Trotts's picture
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I googled "running IBS" to find this site and I'm so relieved to hear there are others who have this problem. I ran this morning - just 5min intervals (1min rest between), and the 2nd 5min interval was enough I could feel cramping coming on. I find that I have to slowly build back up to being able to run any length of time. I am trying to lose my maternity weight, so I'm starting all over. Even before the baby I would find that anything over 20 min would start my cramping, and going more than 50 min would drop me (very sick, cold sweats, nausea, cramping). I don't have to stop immediatly to go, but I usually have cramping periodically for a couple hours after the run, then WATCH OUT. Chills, nausea, and an unhealthy BM. Then all symptoms generally go away about 5 minutes post-poop. I already eat a low-fat, high-fiber diet (as I'm constipated normally until stressed and that causes severe cramping and diarrhea), and since I'm trying to lose weight, I've limited my dairy. I am not sure how Immodium would work - at least not for me. I think the running just stresses my body and causes the IBS to act up. Keep the ideas coming though - I'll check back for more.

Gasparilla Poo's picture
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I started the Gasparilla 15K today feeling so good. Pooped before my run and felt good at the start. Thought it would be my best run ever....then it happened. Around mile 6. I don't even know I'm doing it, until I feel wet. Geez!!!!!!!! It was horrible...I got the runs during the race. I finished, got my medal and left. I was so embarrased, smelled terrible...I didn't even get the goodies in the end, just left. The run ended up ok but I was so conscious of it all that after mile 6 it went down hill - surely wasn't my best. I don't have IBS and don't normally have any issues. Only when I run. Help! There has to be an answer.

Marcusss's picture
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I apparently have IBS and have found this interesting, i am training for a half marathon, which i trained for last year too. However only recently whilst running i have been getting awful stomach cramps, on and off, sometimes a lot worse than other times,when i stop running and at home the pain for the first few hours is extreme! followed by a runny poo poo. within a few hours the pain is a lot less and sometimes has gone completely.

It is odd becuase it never use to happen, does anyone know a way to stop this severe pain? as i don't want to give up running

something smells's picture
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I ran a half marathon today. It's been a while since I've run long distance but since I pooped the night before the race I didn't think I'd have trouble. Around mile 8 I really had to go. I was looking around the running trail for somewhere to poop but there is no way I could have done it without being seen. I kept running and crapped my pants around mile 9. I just kept running- didn't even care. Around mile 10 there was a porter potty so I went in just to get the crap out of my underwear. I kept running and was so embarassed because I'd catch whiffs of myself and I knew other people must have too. I really need to figure this out. Do you really think enemas would work? Has anyone tried them before a race?

ChiefThunderbutt's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardComment Content ModeratorComment Quality Moderatorf 5000+ points
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something smells.....You may be onto a new way to get an edge in competitive running, while the other runners are pacing themselves at the start of the run, put on an early burst of speed and take the lead position. When you are definitely in the lead slow down and shit your pants. Try to eat the most horrible foods imaginable the night before so your stench will be so nasty no one can bare to pass you.
Be sure to save enough back for a re-poop if the situation demands it.


_______
Eat chilies and feel the burn!!

How long a minute is depends on what side of the bathroom door you're on!

Dildo Baggins's picture
l 100+ points
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I can relate to that problem. Before I got old, fat, and lazy, I ran a lot to stay in shape and almost always had my run delayed, interupted, or postponed cause I had to poop._______
Here I sit, my cheeks a flexin' , trying to give birth to another Texan!!

Look out for Number 1, but don't step in Number2

Embarassed runner in Missouri's picture
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Two years ago, I ran a my first half marathon. I was a bit nervous because I have had problems in the past about having to stop quickly at the potty. Well, I made it to the potty on mile 6 and thought things would be alright. No such luck for I had to go again around mile 11 but there was no where to go. I said, oh well and went in my tights. When I got to he finish line, I heard, "What smells!" Of course I knew it was me so I wrapped my bottom half in the free aluminum foil looking blanket they passed out and ran to my car. My husband laughs about it to this day but I was so embarrassed. I was 52 years old at the time and finished it in 1 hour and 55 minutes. I have tried cutting out wheat, sugar, and cut my fat and it seems to be better, but don`t think I should do another half marathon.

Russell's picture
l 100+ points
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When I excercise such as doing sit-ups or push-ups it stirs up my bowels and I run to the nearest restroom
_______
Russell the shitting queen

Russell the shitting queen

chicken shit's picture
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I appreciate reading the reports of everyone's rnning diarrhea, it's good to know I'm not alone. But, seriously - is there a cure for this awful problem? I get it just about everytime I run. I'm reduced to running in areas that have porta potties every 1/2 mile. The dietary recommendations have not worked. On rare occasion if I've just had a full evacuating BM I don't get it. So, I'm tempted to try an enema prior to a long run. I'm training for a marathon. Is it really possible in this day and age that I cannot be a runner because of this physical problem? Thank you for your serious feedback.

Russell's picture
l 100+ points
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Chickenshit, I think age has nothing to do with whether you can run or not. As I said earlier, doing certain things causes me to have this problem. Sometimes when I run, I have to go to the bathroom.
_______
Russell the shitting queen

Russell the shitting queen

Trotts-zilla's picture
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I have had this problem for years. I know where every decent public toilet and the best bushes are on every major running route in town. I have never actually crapped my pants during a race but, I've come really really close. In fact, I was in a half marathon yesterday and was only saved from that fate by the fact that the course looped back by the starting line (lots of porta potties at the start) at the precise moment of my attack. The only things that SOMETIMES help me are to limit sugar, fat, and high fiber foods for at least two days before a race. Don't drink alchohol the night before and try to limit coffee to the least amount you can drink and still function. I know the nurse said to eat high fiber foods but, most of the articles I've read on the subject disagree (this includes one from the mayo clinic). That said, I still get sick when I run sometimes.

Gasparilla Poo Two's picture
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Just back from what was suppose to be a training run (for 1/2 marathon) and after two stops and two pad changes (I've started wearing those panty liners for diapers)I gave it up. Recently have been reading stuff about gluten and have started trying to eliminating gluten from my diet. Has anybody had any exercise with a gluten-free diet and running. Does it help?

runs-w-runs's picture
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I am a runner and mom of 4 kids (two 10 lb kids and a set of 6 1/2 lb-each-twins). I could only begin running without peeing all over myself after a bladder sling surgery. At the time of that surgery, my urologist asked if I had problems on the back end, at which time I did not, since I had not started running again (since high school). Now I have the sneaky trots that I sometimes don't even realize have emanated till I'm done with the run. I'm currently training for my first full marathon (shitted through my first 1/2 marathon and somehow did fine on my second 1/2 marathon). I rarely have to run to the bushes, but I just have a fairly consistent leak that starts around mile 7-9. What do others do for this? I currently just take baby wipes and a change of pants in the car and clean up when I'm finished running. Also, anyone have any advice re: chafing of the cheeks due to poo?

Anonymous Coward's picture
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I'm sorry everyone else is dealing with this too...but I'm glad I'm not the only one. I've been dealing with this issue for a few years now and I'm getting very frustrated!! It really doesn't matter how long the run is...a short 3 miler or a 10+ miler it just happens randomly. It doesn't happen every time I run, but it starts as cramps and then if I keep pushing through the run it will eventually get to the point that I have to walk so I don't poop on myself :) I've tried to watch the foods that I eat, but haven't had much luck...I might try probiotics next though...some colon cleansing may help :) For runs-w-runs...I'd suggest lubing up with vasoline first!

Powersoak's picture
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Has anyone with the running runs thought about trying a tampon in the rectum to soak up the runny stool? They were discussed here at some point.

Anonymous Coward's picture
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I just found this site and sad no one has updated recently. Ditto to what everyone has had happen. I have tried the fleet enemas and doesn't seem to do much to help. Thought about waking up real early to have a little coffee to flush the system but I already get up at 5am to run so that might be too early and cause more problems. Immodium doesn't work either....just keeps it in and makes you feel worse. I am fine any other time, only problems when running so not sure I can blame IBS. Would love to hear something new or from a doctor that runs long distances...

Anonymous Coward's picture
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A new post for the person who posted 6/25. I just found this site too. I decided at mile 9 today that I am pulling out of marathon training. I had to quit my last at mile 18.5 due to bloody, nasty burning diarrhea. I got all checked out, doc says I'm fine. But it's not fine and the training is too much for my gut. So at mile nine today, I said "screw it". I get strong urges to hit the bathroom and it doesn't matter if I just did. And the discomfort often stays with me into my day, as well as intermittent small amounts of diarrhea. It's a problem that makes me mad, I can't help it and it's not like I'm not fit...I'm thinking right now of treadmill runs, yoga, and probiotics. Maybe it will turn things around. I fear no more marathons. I definitely have more problems with increased distance. A question: has anyone noticed a link between IBS symptoms and alcohol? I love a glass or two of wine, but just wondering....

Gorilla Runner's picture
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Although I feel all of your pain (quite literally), I have to confess I'm glad to find others out there. I ran cross country and track in high school and college. Now I'm in grad school trying to stay in shape, and ever since my high school days, running has done horrible things to my body. I get awful cramps and often have to slow down considerably or walk (if not run to the bushes), and the bathroom is always my first stop when I get home. I love running, but it's very frustrating and I'm happy to hear any suggestions you all have. As for IBS, I've cut out fried foods and other foods high in fat. I also don't have much dairy, which seems to help. Thanks for all your suggestions!

running coach's picture
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I'm so glad I found this website. I hope I can offer some of you hope albeit work to get there. I have been running for 23 years and in that time I have accomplished 37 marathons, coached 100's of people through marathons and 1/2 marathons and have become a holistic health care practitioner. I have come across many people who have the running trots and I was never able to give them an answer for what they should do. In the last year however, I started to develop problems of my own. Although my problem started with a virus I soon found out it was exacerbated by a condition called Candida. I started to eat a diet from a book called,"The Candida Cure," by Ann Boroch (Amazon.com). As I followed the diet things got better and better. The more I ate that I shouldn't the more stops I had to make while I was running. I started to notice if I followed the diet perfectly I had to stop only occasionally. I did my best to follow the diet pretty well, there are so many things that feed candida it is hard to follow it 100%, for a good 9 months and things were working much better. I still had to stop but only when I knew a bathroom was coming up (I do think it is part mental) and the urge to go wasn't as immediate. Then I went on vacation. Since it was harder to follow the diet while vacationing I started eating more of the yeast feeding foods. Most of which are wheat and dairy. Although it doesn't hit me sometimes for a few days I will have BM trouble while running eventually from certain foods. So more and more my suspicions grew that the yeast overgrowth called candida is the evil root to this problem. After reading this website and seeing how many people said probiotics helped (probiotics balance out the aggressiveness of candida) I became more convinced. Then I looked up the problem in Tim Noakes, MD's book, "Lore of Running." He says it is from food intolerances (which I know from reading the Candida Cure are from Candida) and bacteria overgrowth (which is candida). Not a lot of medical doctors believe the candida thing just yet, but it is believed to be mostly from the aggressiveness of taking antibiotics. Antibiotics wipe out all of the good bateria as well as any infective bacteria but not the candida, which we all have, allowing the candida to over grow. This condition can cause MANY problems, including eczema, anxiety and depression. Check it out and see if it works for you to follow this program. It's just a really healthy diet and it won't do anything bad to you, just make you healthier. Since it has become my passion in life to keep people healthy and running happily I'm dying to know if I have found something that works for most people.

MomMarathoner's picture
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I have suffered from IBS symptoms for over 20 years. I have run 2 marathons and am training for my 3rd. What works for me is this:
1. Limit or eliminate (in my case) alcohol and caffeine. I eliminated caffeine after college and that has been the single-most improvement in my IBS symptoms hands-down. I do not drink any alcohol for 3 days before a long run.
2. Training for my second marathon, I found that running at the same time or as close to it as possible helped train my body in a way. I run early in the morning. I could have that pre-run flushing out. Some days your body won't cooperate, either push your run back or deal with the pain, etc. of holding in that BM. A little bleeding and pain afterward is just my lot in life and I'm not going to stop doing what I love b/c of IBS. My doctor and coach happen to agree with me so I push through the bad days but I have to say they are getting fewer and fewer now that I know what is working for me.
3. I tested and tracked my diet for 2-3 days prior to my long training runs and found what foods were and weren't causing problems. Processed foods are terrible for IBS, cook fresh, from-scratch and organic if you can. Foods that work for me are fish, rice, eggs, plain bagels, cheese, ham, bananas.
4. Peppermint tea is the single-best cure for the cramping from IBS that I have found. I've seen specialists and doctors who have prescribed Levsin, etc. and I've taken Imodium for the symptoms of IBS. But when a flare-up happens peppermint tea will be the fast cure you can find, at least for me anyway.
5. Hydrate - of course this is important to all runners but for those of us with IBS, it's so important b/c our bodies don't absorb as much as others. Use electrolyte replacements and sports drinks but experiment to find the ones that don't irritate your sensitive gut. I mix half water and half sports drink and visit the medical tent for salt if my electrolytes get too off during races.

Please post what works for you, it's so helpful to hear.

XC runner's picture
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After my runs I take some of the chewable peptobismol and that works reallly well for me.

glasgow girl's picture
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I have had real issues with runners 'trots' for years and it has been getting worse - but I think I have finally got things sorted. After advise from my physio, I have reduced my intake of alcohol (yes even red wine!), caffeine and sugary foods. I had fallen into the low fat food trap, but have now realised that low fat certainly does not mean low sugar!
Thankfully, new food labeling makes it really easy to see the sugar content and some things I just don't buy any more. I now drink redbush tea, which is naturally caffeine free and tastes just as good as black tea. I also take a probiotic supplement to help balance the bacteria in the gut and eat probiotic natural yoghurt with fruit. Results of this are I now have had 3 runs out of 4 completely trot free - FANTASTIC! It feels amazing to be able to concentrate on running again. It has been really easy to change my diet, just small things, but it's working for me. I hope this helps other runners to keep going at this amazing sport. Glasgow Half next weekend - can't wait now!

Ass explosion's picture
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Bananas people. Just eat light all day and eat a banana two hours before the run...voila! no runs!

ChiefThunderbutt's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardComment Content ModeratorComment Quality Moderatorf 5000+ points
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And if you don't like the taste of bananas just stick one up your ass for a great plug that also stops the runs.


_______
Dirty old men need love too!!

How long a minute is depends on what side of the bathroom door you're on!

IBS Girl's picture
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Don't eat sugar substitutes! As a long time sufferer of IBS and long time runner, I've tried everything. Xylitol is bad. Don't eat gum when you run! Try taking Gluten out of your diet and give it 60 days. If you are into drugs, there is a colon muscle relaxer called hyoscamine. (At least that's what I used to use it for before I took Gluten out of my diet.) Watch those sports drinks. They contain proteins that make your IBS flare up. Whey is one of them for me. They sneak in the fake sugar too. Hate that we're all together in this shitty curse.

Crappy Canuck's picture
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I have many of the issues noted above with the worst being 9km into the run having to stop for a pit stop that I thought should have cleaned me out only to have to stop every 2km finally having to walk. The bowels were in major spasm and I was left feeling sick and crampy all day. Since then have improved to being able to run 1/2 marathon with only 2 poops. Today ran 12km of knarly trails and hills with on a few poufs! Here is what I have done so far:
1 NO Caffine EVER!! No Coffee, Tea or Green Tea.
2 No hot beverages before run
3 No tight shorts , pants or watee belt across the abs.
3 No dairy or gluten ever
4 Be very careful of carbs - read about the Specific Carbohydrate Diet
5 Be careful of what you eat night before and before you run. Best to have no food for 2 hours or more before run. (Still trying to figure this out)
6 Running Mantra needs to be "Strong and Relaxed" as opposed to "I hope I don't have to poop"
7 Never give up! It is shitty but can be overcome

ChiefThunderbutt's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardComment Content ModeratorComment Quality Moderatorf 5000+ points
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For me "NO Caffine EVER!! No Coffee, Tea or Green Tea.", plus "No dairy or gluten ever" would equal; no reason to continue living.

Can I continue drinking and screwing?


_______
How long a minute is depends on what side of the bathroom door you're on!

How long a minute is depends on what side of the bathroom door you're on!

Anonymous's picture
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I have suffered with IBS since I was ten (now tewent-two) so I know what you're going through. Different things help different people. I find I can't eat silly things like Jammy Dodgers, as they have me keeled over in agony. Try writing a food diary so you can make a note of foods you've eaten on certain days and what symptoms you have had. I found this really helped me and it made me realize there were several foods I was eating that were making it worse.

Drink lots of water, a hot water bottle while curled up on the sofa helps a lot also.

Greasy and spicy foods make it worse also and sweets like Haribo Bears are bad, I can only have a couple at a time. Cheap sweets and chocolate also make me suffer very bad stomach cramps.

Hope this helps!