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Hemorrhoids & Intestinal Problems from Running

Q.I am a runner and I have begun to train for my first marathon. After my long runs of 10-12 miles I have starting to have intestinal problems, and I am also suffering with hemorrhoids. Is this from the running or just a fact of life? Should I seek medical help or wait it out?


A. Your intestinal problems with running usually stem from a sped-up GI tract, or increased peristalsis … very typical for long-distance runners. That’s why marathoners always joke, “Forget the finish line … where’s the Port-o-Potties?”

But having to move your bowels in a hurry doesn’t cause hemorrhoids. Those are from increased, long-term pressure in the rectum. That may be due to constipation, or to prolonged pushing in childbirth, or to a low-fiber diet.

It’s hard to tell you to add more fiber to your diet right when you’re already running with the runs. Get some medical help for the hemorrhoids, and use Preparation H (it really does work). Try to figure out if any foods aggravate the condition and cut those out. The problem should clear up when you’re done training for the marathon.

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