Here’s what a gastroenterologist has to say about diarrhea, microscopic colitis and exercise.
Microscopic colitis is a benign though sometimes disruptive inflammatory bowel disease whose claim to fame is watery diarrhea — and lots of it.
The disease does not make people sick in the true sense, even though there may be brief waves of nausea right before the sudden urge of diarrhea hits. The nausea is relieved after the diarrhea is voided.
There may also be joint aches, but (at least in my personal experience with microscopic colitis) these don’t interfere with lifting weights or cardio.
“In general, exercise is good for you,” says Jeffrey Fine, MD, chief of gastroenterology at the Medical Surgical Clinic of Irving.
Dr. Fine explains, “It increases your endorphins and helps you maintain good health overall. It shouldn’t increase the frequency of diarrhea unless you’re dehydrated.
“Make sure you’re drinking enough water. Usually I recommend an ounce of water per kilogram [of body weight] per day, preferably filtered.”
Exercise Interrupted by Frequent Trips to the Bathroom
For some people with microscopic colitis, trips to the bathroom to void diarrhea can exceed 10, even 15 times, per day.
Even though my flare-ups of MC were never this bad, I definitely noticed that while exercising at the gym, I never once had an episode of diarrhea.
If anything, exercise reduced the frequency of diarrhea — or, to put it another way, postponed it until I got back home.
It was as though my body somehow knew that being at the gym was not a good place to suddenly have the urge to void diarrhea.
If you have microscopic colitis, even with very frequent explosive diarrhea, and are afraid to commit to a gym workout — you might want to lift this restriction.
Who knows? Maybe your body will somehow know to keep the urge subdued until you return to the comfort and privacy of your home.
Dr. Fine has been in practice for over 30 years and specializes in digestive health, integrative medicine and food sensitivities.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.
icroscopic colitis diarrhea exercise