Is it normal to feel nauseous after exercising?
People occasionally experience nausea after exercising because exercise has an impact on the digestive system.
Those who experience this symptom on occasion might find that altering their workout routine, as well as their eating and drinking habits, helps to alleviate it. An underlying medical condition may occasionally be the cause of persistent nausea after exercise.
The causes of post-exercise nausea, how to treat and prevent it, and when to see a doctor are all covered in this article.
Is it normal?
A 2013 review found that GI symptoms are frequent in athletes, with various studies estimating that 20–70% of athletes experience them.
Endurance athletes seem to be the ones most impacted by these symptoms. Up to 83%Trusted Source of marathon runners claim that GI symptoms and running are related.
Compared to runners, cyclists are more likely to experience upper gastrointestinal symptoms. They may consist of:
- stomach acid reflux
Lower GI tract symptoms, like the following, are more common in runners:
- stomach pain
- gut bleeding
However, extreme endurance sports like ultramarathon running are particularly prone to nausea. During endurance events, up to 90% of competitors may experience GI symptoms.
Exercise-related nausea and gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms can be brought on by a number of factors. Reliable Source:
- decreased blood flow to the stomach and other abdominal organs
- gastric emptying that is delayed
- hyponatremia, or low blood sodium, is a condition.
In a small number of instances, exercise-induced nausea may be brought on by a medical condition, such as:
- renal failure
- anaphylaxis following a meal
- scar tissue in the gallbladder
- ischemic bowel disease, in which the small intestine does not receive enough blood flow
- bleeding gastritis
As the body sends more blood to the muscles and skin during exercise, the blood flow to the abdominal organs may be reduced by up to 80%. Diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and stomach pain can all be side effects of this effect.
Eating too soon before exercising can also make you feel nausea.
In comparison to waiting 60 minutes before exercising, exercising right after eating increased levels of nausea, according to a 2001Trusted Source study of 12 healthy participants.
The researchers also discovered that high-intensity workouts caused more nausea than low-intensity workouts.
While high intensity or intermittent exercise may slow down gastric emptying and cause nausea or other GI symptoms, moderate exercise appears to have little impact on gastric emptying.
How to get over motion nausea after exercising
People may be able to lessen post-exercise nausea by consuming a sports beverage that contains numerous transportable carbohydrates, such as glucose and fructose, according to a 2014 article in Sports Medicine.
The authors mention that taking supplements to support the body's production of nitric oxide may also be beneficial. Increasing this compound's availability could aid in boosting blood flow to the abdominal organs.
The authors do note that more study on these potential treatments is still required.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that slowing down after a workout or lying flat on the back with the feet raised higher than the stomach may help people with their symptoms.
When exercising, people may be able to take precautions to lessen or avoid nausea. These consist of:
- eating enough fiber in your diet to keep your gut healthy, but avoiding foods high in fiber before working out;
- avoiding eating things that take longer to digest, like protein, fat, and dairy products, before working out to ensure faster gastric emptying;
- avoiding aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications before and after exercise as these may exacerbate GI symptoms;
- avoiding fructose-rich foods and beverages, especially high-fructose drinks, unless they also contain glucose;
- exercising while properly hydrated to prevent dehydration, which can make GI symptoms worse;
- ingesting carbohydrate-rich foods and beverages that are higher in water or have lower carbohydrate concentrations;
An individual can experiment with nutrition regimens to find the foods and beverages that work best for them when exercising and the amount of time they should wait between eating and exercising.
It may also be beneficial for people to properly warm up and cool down before and after exercising. Another smart strategy is to start out with lower intensity workouts and gradually increase.
When to see a doctor
Exercise can be uncomfortable if you experience nausea or other GI symptoms. They are however typical and typically do not present a health risk.
By changing their eating and drinking habits, warming up and cooling down properly, and cutting back on the intensity of their workouts, people may be able to avoid experiencing nausea after exercise.
People should see a doctor if changing their eating and exercise routines is ineffective, they have persistent symptoms, or they frequently feel nausea.
Those who experience severe symptoms, such as blood in the stool, blood vomiting, black or tarry stools, or excruciating stomach pain, should also visit a doctor. These symptoms might be a sign of a more serious underlying medical condition.
Exercise can cause nausea and other unpleasant GI symptoms because less blood reaches the digestive tract. Exercises with a higher heart rate are more likely to produce this result.
Eating too soon before exercising, dehydration, and an electrolyte imbalance are other possible causes of these symptoms.
By switching to lower intensity workouts or refraining from exercising too soon after eating, people may be able to treat or prevent nausea after exercising.
People should visit a doctor if changing their exercise routines does not help with nausea relief or if they experience severe or persistent symptoms.