Dealing with stomach pains from dehydration

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A problem with eating certain types of foods is pain in my stomach during or particularly after intense exercise or any other time I get dehydrated. It is a key reason why eating while or before moving can be bad for you

Fibre and dehydration causes pain

I’ve noticed it most when I eat a bran, high fibre, type breakfast and played tennis at lunch. I found it often hurt afterwards and my explanation is that the stomach doesn’t get much blood while playing tennis yet it is still digesting the meal.

I play tennis pretty intensely so my body is in conflict between supplying blood for movement and blood for digestion. In this situation of intense movement my body needs all the water it can get so  my digestive system removes the water from my breakfast for my muscles to use. This reduces the water content of my meal while it is still travelling through my body. With lots of fibre in my meal this can cause problems and pain.

Fibre needs water

The point of bran and fibre rich foods is that they don’t get digested by the body. That’s why they clean your system because they act like a brush. Pushing things along your digestive system instead of letting them hang around. The firmness fibre provides is important but is also the source of pain when you are dehydrated.

Fibre needs a lot of water to make your digested meal a thick soup so that the fibre can do its work without irritating your digestive system. When water is removed it starts to become thicker, possibly chunky. These thicker chunks can irritate the digestive system and become quite painful. That’s the basic reason why healthy foods can hurt your stomach and cause pain. Most of us don’t realise just how much liquid must accompany the fibre.

Drink water to relieve pain

The good news is that once I learnt this I rarely have this problem. If I know I will get dehydrated during the day then I plan my meals accordingly. If I do get pains that I’ve just described then the fix is water as quickly as possible. Since the pains come from dehydration then replacing water becomes an obvious solution.

It doesn’t matter too much what the water is e.g.

  • coffee
  • tea
  • fizzy drink
  • plain water
  • hot/cold

It just matters that you have some and have as much as you feel you need. You learn how much you need over time so it’s best to drink too much than too little. You’ll pee more more be in less pain.

A quick fix

It’s quite surprising how quickly this can fix the problem. Sometimes within a minute but always within 5-10 minutes I’m fine. It’s uncomfortable, sometimes very painful so it’s very comforting to know I have an easy fix available.

Now you can can understand now why I make sure I have water available whenever I can. 🙂

Everyday activities

Tomorrow I will explain how this knowledge helps me enjoy everyday activities more.

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