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Cycling: What are gastrointestinal symptoms and what can you really do?

digestive tract


If you’re a rider that constantly get to experience indigestion, nausea or stomach cramps during the ride, then, don’t worry. Good news is, you’re not alone in this. All of the above-mentioned symptoms are actually quite common among cyclists. Almost everyone has at least once experienced some type of indigestion, nausea or cramps during the riding routine.


Even though most of the cyclists never seem to focus on these signs, the truth is, there are many of them that become unable to get on a bike due to their disturbing and strong pains. Feeling miserable while riding will not only make you unable to perform in the way you wanted, but it may also cause many other issues on your health, overall athletic performance etc.


In order for you to fully understand how come dealing with such an amazingly good sport such as cycling which should bring many health-related benefits, can cause your body to react that bad and make you almost unable to continue riding, let’s have a look what dietitians and nutritionists say.

It’s time for you to learn what is causing these disturbing symptoms and what can you do to prevent them from happening?



What’s behind these symptoms?


Although these symptoms may sound like normal ones, learning their source is a necessary thing to do so you can be able to prevent them from getting worse and limiting your riding performance.


The first thing that triggers these symptoms, are the physiological changes that happen to your body while dealing with cycling. Most of these physiological changes happen in the digestive tract due to a reduced blood flow. Since your body needs the blood to help it handle the activity you’re doing, it gets redirected from your digestive tract and it ends up with very little of it to…


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Since the movement of your food will not be fully regular and in the right way, it leads to inflammation and other issue on your digestive tract. The reduced amount of blood in this area in your body is the first reasons that trigger the inability of your digestive system to properly absorb and digest the nutrients and fluids you consume.


The second most common reason that causes these gastrointestinal symptoms, are your hormones. While riding, there are many different hormones circulating in your body such as adrenalin, cortisol and noradrenalin. They are all stress hormones and they can potentially impact your digestive tract too.


Even though your digestive tract is able to produce some other hormones to deal with all the stress you’re putting on it while riding, sometimes, they are not enough. Some general disturbances are being created on your digestive tract while cycling. And then cause you to feel these disturbing gastrointestinal symptoms.


Unfortunately, there are many cyclists that experience heavier symptoms on their digestive tract. They can make them to skip riding at all. Here are some easy ways to make these symptoms stop and possibly to not appear again.



Tips to manage them


– Try to always stay fully hydrated. Especially before your riding routine.

– Try to avoid large meals containing fats and fibers at least two hours before the riding starts.

– Try to regulate your bike position while riding. Don’t keep your bars too low. Improving your posture is a very important thing if you’re suffering from these symptoms.

– Consult with your doctor whether you should use antispasmodic medication or other medication. They have shown to reduce the production of different gastric acids. This is something many athletes have found it useful.


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