Document Detail

Potential benefits and hazards of physical activity and exercise on the gastrointestinal tract.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  11171839     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
This review describes the current state of knowledge on the hazards of exercise and the potential benefits of physical activity on the gastrointestinal tract. In particular, acute strenuous exercise may provoke gastrointestinal symptoms such as heartburn or diarrhoea. A substantial part (20-50%) of endurance athletes are hampered by these symptoms which may deter them from participation in training and competitive events. Nevertheless, these acute symptoms are transient and do not hamper the athlete's health in the long term. The only exception is repeated gastrointestinal bleeding during training and competition, which in the long term may occasionally lead to iron deficiency and anaemia. In contrast, repetitive exercise periods at a relatively low intensity may have protective effects on the gastrointestinal tract. There is strong evidence that physical activity reduces the risk of colon cancer by up to 50%. Less convincing evidence exists for cholelithiasis and constipation. Physical activity may reduce the risk of diverticulosis, gastrointestinal haemorrhage, and inflammatory bowel disease although this cannot be substantiated firmly. Up to now, underlying mechanisms are poorly understood although decreased gastrointestinal blood flow, neuro-immuno-endocrine alterations, increased gastrointestinal motility, and mechanical bouncing during exercise are postulated. Future research on exercise associated digestive processes should give more insight into the relationship between physical activity and the function of the gastrointestinal tract.
H P Peters; W R De Vries; G P Vanberge-Henegouwen; L M Akkermans
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Review    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Gut     Volume:  48     ISSN:  0017-5749     ISO Abbreviation:  Gut     Publication Date:  2001 Mar 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2001-02-22     Completed Date:  2001-04-12     Revised Date:  2009-11-18    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  2985108R     Medline TA:  Gut     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  435-9     Citation Subset:  AIM; IM    
Department of Medical Physiology and Sports Medicine, University Medical Centre Utrecht, PO Box 85060, 3508 AB Utrecht, The Netherlands.
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MeSH Terms
Digestive System Physiological Phenomena*
Exercise / physiology*
Gastrointestinal Diseases / etiology,  physiopathology*
Gastrointestinal Transit / physiology
Regional Blood Flow

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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