Embarrassing Running Problems
Most runners have had to deal with their share of embarrassing running-related problems.
Embarrassing Running Problem #2: Leaky Bladder
Female runners sometimes have problems with urinary incontinence, especially if they’ve given birth. Men can leak urine too, but the problem is more common in women.
Symptoms: You’re running and you suddenly realize your running shorts are wet with urine. The leakage can be just a trickle or a stream.Causes
When your pelvic and sphincter muscles are strong, they can handle the extra pressure from a cough, sneeze, exercise, or laugh.
But when those muscles become stretched and weak – which often happens because of pregnancy and childbirth — that sudden pressure can push urine out of the bladder. The muscles can also weaken with age, although that’s not true for everyone.Treatment
An effective treatment for incontinence, Kegel exercises help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and don’t require any equipment. To locate the right muscles, try stopping your urine flow without using your stomach, leg or butt muscles.
When you’re able to slow or stop the stream of urine, you’ve located the right muscles. Contract the muscles for 10 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, and repeat 10 times. Try to do the pattern three to four times a day. After about six to eight weeks, you should notice that you have fewer leaks and more bladder control.
Embarrassing Running Problem #3: Runner’s Trots (Diarrhea)
Many runners experience bouts of diarrhea and GI distress during and after runningSymptoms:
You may experience cramping, flatulence, diarrhea during or after running.Causes:
The cause may be dietary in nature or due to lack of blood flow during digestion (since the blood is being pulled to your muscles). You may also have irritable bowel syndrome or lactose intolerance, the effects of which are enhanced by exercise. Dehydration and low electrolyte levels may also lead to diarrhea.Prevention:
This issue is more common in beginner runners, so it may disappear as you become more fit. Try these strategies and see if they make a difference
- Avoid high-fiber foods (fruit, vegetables, legumes, whole grains) and coffee/tea before working out. Try to drink 64 oz of water every day. You’ll know you’re well-hydrated if your urine is a light yellow color.
- Consume a sports drink (like Gatorade) during long runs to maintain electrolyte levels.
- Choose foods that are naturally constipating, such as bananas, plain bagels, rice, oatmeal and pasta.
- Make sure you don’t eat at least two hours before running, so you give your body plenty of time to digest.
- Try to keep track of what you eat before your runs, so you can figure out possible triggers. For example, some people find that dairy products cause diarrhea.
- Plan your long runs along routes where you know bathrooms are accessible. If you face this problem on race day, don’t worry. Most races, especially longer ones such as marathons, offer plenty of port-a-johns at the start and along the race course. In most cases, you can find them near the water stops.
- If you try different tactics and nothing seems to work, you may want to consider a medical check-up for irritable bowel syndrome.
Embarrassing Running Problem #6: Rashes or Hives
Some runners break out in red, itchy rashes or hives during their runs. Their symptoms may be the result of one of these conditions:
Embarrassing Running Problem #7: Sore or Bloody Nipples
Some runners, usually men, get chaffed or bleeding nipples, which can be extremely painful.Causes
When men run, their nipples are constantly rubbing against their shirt. Over the course of a run (especially a long one), this sensitive area can be rubbed to the point of bleeding. Because women wear tight-fitting sports bras, this shouldn’t be an issue for them.Prevention
Generously apply a lubricant like Vaseline or BodyGlide to the nipple area before a long run and you should be fine. Some men will also wear products such as Nip Guards or Band-aids to protect the nipples. Also, for longer runs, make sure that you wear a synthetic-material (Dri-Fit, not cotton) shirt closest to your body. Cotton shirts will cause chafing. Women should make sure their sports bras are not cotton. For longer runs, both men and women should also apply Body Glide or Vaseline to any areas where there may be rubbing (inner thighs, under arms) to avoid chafing.
Embarrassing Running Problem #8: Excessive Sweating
Some runners experience excessive sweating during their runs, especially on the hands, feet, and armpits.Cause
Sweating helps the body stay cool, so it’s normal for runners to sweat when they run. But hyperhidrosis, or profuse sweating, occurs when the body’s normal cooling operations malfunction. Those with hyperhidrosis appear to have overactive sweat glands.Prevention
Try using a clinical-strength antiperspirant. You don’t need a prescription for it -– a product such as Secret Clinical Strength Waterproof Deodorant is available over-the-counter at drugstores. Apply it before you go to bed, so your body can absorb it overnight, and then reapply before your run. You may also want to use the antiperspirant on your feet, since heavy sweaters are prone to foot blisters. In extreme cases, medication or surgery may be necessary.
Embarrassing Running Problem #11: Hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids, or an enlargement of the anal vein, can happen to runners, especially those who are pregnant, have recently given birth, or who had digestive issues such as runner’s trots (also fairly common among runners). The symptoms of hemorrhoids can range from midly irritating (itching) to concerning (bleeding). Running with hemorrhoids can be painful and may actually make your condition worse.
So if you’re dealing with hemorrhoids, your best best is to check in with your health care professional before you run again. He or she will most likely recommend an over-the-counter topical cream or ointment to give you some relief.
Embarrassing Problem #12: Passing Gas While Running
If you’ve been running long enough, you’ve undoubtedly farted at some point during a run. If you were lucky, you were all alone and no one heard or smelled the evidence. But if you’ve passed gas during a group run or race, you know that it can be just a bit embarrassing.
The causes of passing gas while running are similar to that of runner’s trots, so you can follow some of the same advice to prevent it. Here are some things to try:
Cut back on foods that cause excessive gas, especially in the 2-3 hours before your run. The list includes sugar-rich and high-fiber foods such as fruits, vegetables, bran, and beans.
Everyone swallows small amounts of air while eating or drinking. The faster you eat or drink, the more air you’ll swallow. So don’t rush through your meals. This is also good advice to prevent overeating.
Drink plenty of water and make sure you’re staying well-hydrated, since water is an essential part of the digestion process. If excessive gas continues to be an issue, consult your health care professional to determine whether there is a medical reason for it.