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Revista Brasileira de Medicina do Esporte

Print version ISSN 1517-8692

Abstract

LIRA, Claudio Andre Barbosa de; VANCINI, Rodrigo Luiz; SILVA, Antonio Carlos da  and  NOUAILHETAS, Viviane Louise Andree. Effects of physical exercise on the gastrointestinal tract. Rev Bras Med Esporte [online]. 2008, vol.14, n.1, pp. 64-67. ISSN 1517-8692.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1517-86922008000100012.

The impact of exercise on the gastrointestinal tract (GI tract), although being little investigated, is a field of high interest. Intense endurance aerobic exercise can lead to gastrointestinal symptoms. These symptoms can be classified into upper symptoms (vomiting, nausea and retrosternal pyrosis - heartburn) and lower symptoms (diarrhea, abdominal cramps, loss of appetite, bleeding, accelerated bowel transit time, urge to defecate). These symptoms’ etiology during exercise is multifactorial and includes: reduction of intestinal blood flow, release of gastrointestinal hormones, mechanical stress on the GI tract, dehydration, psychological factors, age, gender, diet, and training status. On the other hand, low intensity exercise has a protective effect on the GI tract; mainly, with certain diseases, such as, colon cancer, diverticular disease, cholelithiases, and constipation. A variety of mechanisms have been postulated to explain the effects of exercise on the GI tract, contributing to the development of therapeutic strategies in the treatment of patients with gastrointestinal symptoms and diseases.

Keywords : exercise; gastrointestinal tract; gastrointestinal symptoms, and gastrointestinal diseases.

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