Abdominal Pain In Women Runners

10 messages
01/12/2007 at 21:10
I am a personal trainer who also has experience of severe abdominal pain when running at a high intensity.  Many of my female clients also suffer from stomach pain after running.  I was once hospitalised for a week whilst investigations took place after running a fast paced 5k in hot conditions.  It was thought that my severe abdominal pain was due to appendicitis however this was ruled out after investigations took place including a barium enema.  I am none the wiser about why this occurred but still have 'twinges' if I do a challenging run and have learnt it is best to back off running hard when these occur. I believe that this problem is probably linked to the time of ovuation as this is when pain is most likely to occur.  I would like to find out more about this problem if only to be able to advise my clients on the issue rather than just empathise with them.
01/12/2007 at 23:22

Sounds nasty, and that is just the barium enema. Have you had kids ?
02/12/2007 at 09:16
I don't have any answers, but just finished reading Kelly Holmes' autobiog where she mentions this as something that  blighted her career for many years
02/01/2008 at 23:27

Hi Julie

I to am having severe abdominal pains.  GP can not find cause, had a baby 10 months ago and find it near on impossible to train.  GP states there is no reason for this and its just my bodys responce for not being able to exercise for 18 months due to being pregnant.  Linkie to my thread  http://www.runnersworld.co.uk/forum/forummessages.asp?dt=4&UTN=117384&V=6&SP=

Wish i could help

02/01/2008 at 23:36

What's your diet like?

 Anything starchy or yeasty can react in the gut to cuase gas.

03/01/2008 at 18:35

Hi Julie,

I first experienced this a few years back during a 5k race on a ridiculously hot day and it was initially put down to me drinking whilst running.  However, it persisted for many months after and I tried all kinds of things -- different foods, different times of the day, running on an empty stomach first thing in the morning -- but still no resolution.  It was worse around my ovulation time and the week prior to my period.

Eventually my GP got fed up with me and sent me for a scan which identified a small cyst on one of my ovaries.  Further investigation showed that I had endometriosis and was surgically treated for this and hey presto.  Pain free running!  Unfortunately it has come back after about 18 months (consultant warned me of this at the time of the op) so I either have to cross train when the pain is bad or try and plan my racing round my monthly cycle (which is a pain in the proverbial sometimes!!).

My GP told me that many women suffer from this but it largely goes unnoticed because it doesn't cause an issue if you have a sedentary lifestyle.  Or if you have little niggles throught the day you usually just dismiss it as normal ovulation pain.  But high intensity, high impact exercise exacerbates the pain.

See if your GP can get you booked for a scan.  It will hopefully help solve the problem!


04/01/2008 at 15:25

I used to get this when I was much younger (20s).  It would be very painful, and I gave up running.  many years later I was diagnosed with endometriosis like LMS. Now after motherhood and chemotherapy which brought on an early menopause, I am running again this time without pain.

 I think endometriosis is very underdiagnosed and it might be worth getting investigated.  Might not be this of course, but in my experience medics often need a helping hand with diagnosis!!!

05/01/2008 at 22:00
I found quite a bit of relief from this problem when an osteopath released the diaphragm. I don't quite know what it was/is that causes this pain (doctors couldn't find anything) but it is a combination of a slow digestive system and tense abdominal muscles.

Eating lots of fibre (and making sure I've had a number 2 before heading out on a long/fast run) and stretching or massaging the abdominal area helps for me. Lots of different conditions seem to cause similar types of pain, hope you find some answer!
29/10/2008 at 19:11

Very interested to read all of the posts on this and other threads as I have recently started running and experienced this for the first time today. I had some very mild abdominal discomfort at the start of the run, but nothing serious and this went away after about 10 mins. At the end of 30 mins, having sprinted for the last 5, I suddenly experienced acute abdominal pain very similar to period pain as well as nausea and light-headedness. I staggered to the bathroom thinking I was going to be sick, but as I wasn't I forced myself to get up and fetch some water before lying down again. About 5 mins later I started to feel better and after 10 mins all was normal again.

I am also very close to ovulation so it does sound quite like other people's experiences. I am in my mid twenties and haven't had any children. I hope it isn't endometriosis!

29/10/2008 at 21:33

Hi. My cramps are all related to being of the female gender. I have always suffered very painful periods, have fibroids and endometriosis and have always had cramps when running, even from, or rather especially from an early age. Much worse just before priod time.

Mine is not at all related to diet, but then I make sure I haven't eaten before running.

Both endometriosis and fibroids are under diagnosed, if you have 'no' symptoms then why investigate?

btw - they are always when I push myself that bit harder.

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