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Saturday, September 15, 2012

Running With Acid Reflux

Acid Reflux Disease also known as GERD is a condition where stomach acid leaves the stomach enters the esophagus and often upward into the mouth. 

Most Often Runners can experience symptoms of refluxing due to exercise. There are other factors that can cause Reflux and that includes obesity/overweight and certain drinks/foods can trigger an otherwise silent issue.

Symptoms can include belching, stomach ache, burping reflux (food/drink) into your mouth as you run. A pain in your chest that could be confusing and scary to the runner; could cause a runner to think they are having heart or respiratory problems.

If you are experiencing these symptoms you are going to want to resolve this issue by being proactive. By ignoring this problem you can cause long term erosion of your esophagus, tooth erosion and chronic sinusitis  *and in my case in the past small lung infections because of the spillover into my lungs as I slept*  Long term erosion can cause cancer and permanent damage to very sensitive tissues in your esophagus.
*PLEASE Contact Your Physician and rule out any other serious medical condition before just treating the problem, getting to the root of the problem is the best solution*

Proactive Measures for the Runner:
Foods to Avoid:
  1. Coffee
  2. Spicy foods
  3. Chocolate
  4. Carbonated beverages
  5. Chewing gum
  6. Tea
  7. Sauces
  8. Acidic fruits
  9. *****SPORTS DRINKS****** Experiment with them before Running!
  10. Greasy Foods (high fat foods take longer to pass through the small intestines and can back up the additional fluids you take in while running)
How to Avoid Reflux While Running
  1. Eat solid meal 60min out from your run
  2. Running less than 30min then go for a light snack/drink instead of a full meal
  3. Avoid the trigger foods listed above
  4. Drink water 30min before heading out
  5. While running long distance drink 4oz every 30min as to avoid filling your stomach too rapidly
  6. Experiment with commercial power gels/power bars ahead of time to see how your stomach responds before you take them onto a run with you
  7. Take a preventative reflux medication
  8. Tums Prior to a work-out can be beneficial
  9. Reduce stress in your life
  10. Eat smaller meals more frequently

I had major issues with reflux; obesity caused the problem because the stomach is constantly over filled, the pressure of stomach fat pushes onto the stomach - most especially as you run.

Please Trust that you will likely encounter far less fewer occurrence's when you run as you lose any extra weight. I still make simple mistakes and my reflux will act up again despite being of normal weight but I can pinpoint most often a trigger food that caused it or over hydrating on a long endurance run. So plan it out best if you are truly suffering and you will be rewarded with less pain and symptoms!

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