Runner's Trots

"Runner's trot" is the common name used to refer to diarrhea that is seen during distance races or training. Runner's trots may be caused by the release of certain hormones or enzymes during exercise. It may be complicated by:

  • Certain hydration formulas.

  • Medicines.

  • Pre-exercise meals.

Runner's trots is usually a benign condition. However, if your stool becomes bloody you should be seen by your caregiver.

SYMPTOMS

  • Diarrhea during exercise.

  • Cramping during exercise.

  • Rarely, bloody diarrhea.

  • Urge to have a bowel movement.

CAUSES

  • Possibly, adrenaline or hormones.

  • High carbohydrate levels in fluid replacement.

  • High lactose levels in pre-game meal.

RISK INCREASES WITH:

  • Dehydration.

  • Anxiety.

  • Irritable bowel syndrome.

  • High-fat or high-protein meals before exercise.

  • High-intensity exercise.

  • Untrained individuals.

PREVENTION

  • Eat meals more than 1 hour before the event.

  • Eat pre-exercise meals that are small, low-fat, and have low-fiber several hours before sport.

  • Do not experiment with new foods or drinks during competition.

  • Avoid high-carbohydrate meals and drinks, especially dairy products.

  • Maintain hydration.

  • Avoid caffeine.

TREATMENT

Be consistent with pre-exercise meals and hydration. Try new pre-exercise meals or hydration during a training workout not during a competition. If runner's trot becomes a problem or the stool becomes bloody, then consult your caregiver. Your caregiver may suggest you take mild anti-diarrheal medicine. Stronger anti-diarrheal medicine may also be taken, but they have a greater risk of side effects or may be banned by athletic governing bodies.