Hutano Physical Therapy and Wellness


Q. I am a 30 something old female who recently started running long distances. I have noticed that after running half marathons, I experience abdominal pain and rectal bleeding shortly after. However, when I run shorter distances like 5k or 10K, I do not experience the same side effects.

A. rectal bleeding following long distance running is fairly common; it affects 17-20% of marathon runners. No conclusive cause of rectal bleeding has been determined; however, one possible cause is ischemia, or reduced blood flow to the parts of the colon. In addition, the very act of running and the continual jarring of intestines can cause micro-trauma to the colon; also increasing the risk of bleeding.

Running-induced rectal bleeding tends to resolve as the athlete becomes more seasoned at running long distances. In the meantime, it is helpful to stay hydrated before and during races; also, reducing the use of anti-inflamatory medications like ibuprofein and aspirin should be considered as these medications increase the risk of bleeding. If bleeding continues, consult your physician for a medical workup.

Dr. Ephraim Makuve, PT