IBS FODMAPS and Running – A Nutritional Approach

February 24, 2022

IBS FODMAPS and Running

IBS symptoms affect many runners, and symptoms can be very unpleasant and disruptive to training and race schedules and to overall running performance.

In the general population, it’s estimated that 20% of the population experience IBS like symptoms. Women are twice as likely as men to report having symptoms of IBS.

With regards to the runners, looking at a variety of studies with different groups of runners, it appears that 30% or more in some instances, reported symptoms of exercise induced IBS symptoms.

It’s a common issue discussed amongst the running community and a topic we have covered in Episodes 3, 23, 31 and 78, so if it’s an area of interest to you please check out the information we share in these episodes.

Today we’re going to …

  1. Discuss how the medical profession diagnose IBS and what may lead to exercise induced IBS
  2. Review research on nutritional approaches for managing IBS in runners
  3. Share our approach to investigating the root causes of IBS symptoms with some food tip suggestions

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IBS FODMAPS and Running


An overview of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), what criteria the medical profession will use to make a diagnosis and what are the typical symptoms experienced.


Do the symptoms of exercise induced IBS differ from those experienced by other IBS sufferers?


What is going on physiologically to create exercise induced IBS like symptoms?


Are there any female factors to consider regarding IBS?


Reviewing the FODMAPS Diet as a way of managing exercise induced IBS symptoms and a 2021 study:

High Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols (FODMAP) Consumption Among Endurance Athletes and Relationship to Gastrointestinal Symptoms


Examples of FODMAP foods.


A brief review of the conclusions of the study

High Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols (FODMAP) Consumption Among Endurance Athletes and Relationship to Gastrointestinal Symptoms


Our approach to investigating the root causes of IBS.


Adapting and personalising the FODMAP content of your food plan to help alleviate IBS symptoms including an introduction to Monash FODMAPS APP


TIPS on FODMAPS to help runners implement changes with food plans.

Female Factors

YOUR MARATHON: Run Refuel Recover

  1. REMEMBER females are more susceptible to lower limb injury than men, which could be linked to more hormonal fluctuations than men but also, there is an increased prevalence of disordered eating and eating disorders in women besides men
  2. So, optimal nutrition in females, esp protein and carbohydrate, is key to help prevent injury occurring, which could compromise their efficient recovery and a speedy return to their training
  3. Women may need to think about their menstrual cycle when planning a marathon as the hormonal fluctuations during menstruation may compromise recovery.


IBS FODMAPS and Running

  1. Irritable Bowel Symptom is described by the medical profession as being abdominal pain or discomfort, in association with altered bowel habit, for at least 6 months, in the absence of alarm symptoms or signs.
  2. Typical Symptoms are intestinal/stomach cramps/pain, bloating, flatulence, diarrhoea, constipation, alongside irregular bowel movements. The severity and frequency of symptoms varies from person to person.
  3. It’s estimated that over 30% of endurance runners experience EXERCISE INDUCED IBS Symptoms.
  4. For runners these symptoms can be very unpleasant and disruptive to training and race schedules and to overall running performance.
  5. It’s important to consult with a medical practitioner to have symptoms investigated.
  6. FODMAP Foods may be a trigger for IBS symptoms in some people.
  7. The FODMAP diet plan involves:
    • Eliminating FODMAP foods to reduce symptoms for 2-6 weeks
    • A Re Challenge Phase for 6-8 weeks – you’ll reintroduce FODMAP foods, one by one, to identify which FODMAPS you tolerate and which trigger symptoms. Sometimes it is the quantity of the specific food which causes the symptoms, so experiment with portion sizes – start small and increase until you find an appropriate portion size which does not trigger symptoms.
    • The final phase is  an Adapted Diet – you may personalise the FODMAP diet to suit you e.g. some foods you may be able to tolerate and others you may which to eliminate of minimise.
    • We highly recommend the MONASH FODMAP APP developed by Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. They are the world leaders in this field of study and have developed educational resources and an APP to help people easily put the FODMAPS food plan into practice alongside working with a professional nutrition practitioner.
  1.  If you are using sports products e.g. gels, gummies or drinks read the labels to check for FODMAP content or look for specially formulated products.

Our message is don’t put up with IBS like symptoms, there may be underlying reasons for your symptoms which a professional nutritionist can investigate and help you with. We’d be happy to help you – all you need to do is book a complimentary call with us and we can discuss how that would work. FODMAPS is just one approach – there are others.

Related Episodes:


The suggestions we make during this episode are for guidance and advice only, and are not a substitute for medical advice or treatment. If you have any concerns regarding your health, please contact your healthcare professional for advice as soon as possible.

Remember we are available to support you if required contact us at hello@ runnershealthhub.com

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