--Mary Elizabeth Dallas
MONDAY, May 9 (HealthDay News) -- College athletes who play
high-intensity sports such as crew, lacrosse and swimming are at
greater risk for gastrointestinal disorders than other students and
athletes their own age, new research suggests.
The study, which was slated for presentation Sunday at the
Digestive Disease Week conference in Chicago, examined 215 male and
female athletes and non-athletes.
Researchers at Drexel University College of Medicine in
Philadelphia found that up to 60 percent of athletes on the
university's Division I crew, lacrosse and swim teams experienced
at least one symptom of a gastrointestinal (GI) problem, including
constipation, diarrhea, abdominal bloating or pain. In contrast,
only half of non-athletes and less than 35 percent of other
athletes reported any GI symptoms.
"The mechanics and aerobic dynamic of the highest intensity sports may cause functional GI disorders," Dr. Asyia Ahmad, an associate professor of medicine at Drexel, speculated in a meeting news release.
Rowing, Ahmad warned, is among the most risky sports for GI
issues since the sport involves strenuous repetitive motions of the
abdominal muscles. "The resulting disorders are the kind that can
really impact quality of life," she added.
Symptoms associated with GI troubles can also weigh heavily on
an athlete's training and performance. Ahmad said the findings
warrant future study into the causes of these disorders among top
rowers, swimmers and lacrosse players. "The implications are
becoming very important in competitive, high-intensity sports," she
Findings presented at meetings are considered preliminary since
they have not undergone the rigorous peer review of data published
in most medical journals.
The American Gastroenterological Association offers basic facts
and details on
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