Exercise-induced nausea can affect gym newbies and athletes alike.
It happens suddenly. You’re in the middle of working up a sweat in a high-intensity boot camp, and BAM!—you need to hold yourself back from throwing up right in the middle of the floor. You panic (no one wants to be “that girl”), and you pray the sensation subsides. After class, you question whether you’re really as fit as you previously thought and desperately try to remember if you ate something weird earlier in the day. Truth is, exercise-induced nausea can affect everyone from novices to professional athletes, and what causes its onset is multi-factored and somewhat mysterious. When you feel nauseous, whether it’s from one too many glasses of wine, being sick with the flu, or exercising, what happens in the body is the same. The sensation begins with a slowing of gut mobility. “The digestion of food slows down in the intestine as blood flow is redistributed from your gut to your working muscles,” says Dr. Daphne Scott, a primary care sports medicine physician at The Hospital for Special Surgery. This process, called ischemia, manifests itself in many different ways—nausea, constipation, or diarrhea—all of which impact the GI system.
Take a look at some of the things that are commonly thought to increase your chance of nausea while working out, and ways you can avoid this awful feeling in the future.
Although it’s always important to take the recommended dosage of any medication, Scott says to pay close attention to your intake of anti-inflammatory medicines; excessive amounts of ibuprofen or naproxen can cause nausea. So while it may be tempting to muffle your knee pain with OTC anti-inflammatories to get you through that tough workout, one too many can leave you feeling sick
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