Workouts with Colitis are more challenging than workouts when you don’t have Colitis and/or any other autoimmune condition.

I told you yesterday I’ve come to hate my workouts.

There are only two main reasons for this, and the ever-so-awesome Proctitis is one of those reasons.

When I had surgery about a month ago, I let you in on my painful secret….the one where I described the intense pain I get with intense workouts.

Debilitating, yes. Life threatening, no.

After the diagnosis that it was not endometriosis but just another reminder of the lovely Colitis, I stumbled upon this. (CAUTION – weak stomach? Proceed at your own risk. Or just suck it up, buttercup. Knowledge is power. Even stinky, grotesque knowledge.)

Proctitis. Workouts with Colitis. via #ibs #ibd

Suddenly it’s all starting to make perfect sense.

Workouts with Colitis

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Workouts with Colitis #workouts #fitness #colitis #autoimmune

Proctitis affects the rectum. And with your own two eyes, you are able to easily see that the rectum is so close to many of the female organs.

I am not a doctor, and so I’m not going to theorize why I get these debilitating cramps during intense workouts mid-cycle and during cycle, but here’s what I do know:

  • There are about 10-20 days per month when this could happen to me. Cycle days 7-17 and 24-2.
  • My mind goes back-and-forth with, ‘”It hasn’t been like this my whole life. But then again I was never this intense. And then again it started around the time I was “diagnosed.” What triggered it? I can’t remember….was it sudden or gradual over time?“‘ <– it’s a never-ending battle in my mind.
  • Instead of finding the cause, one doctor told me, “It hurts. You don’t workout. It’s as simple as that.” That used to infuriate me. It still does. But on a very basic level, he was right.
  • I am 87 days into my 101 days of gut healing. I have never felt better in my whole life.

Are We Like Dogs Now?!

A couple weeks ago I went on a morning walk with my friend Jen. We were discussing her sweet dog who, like me, also has IBD. (Don’t think dogs are exempt from gut misery.)

Anyways, she was telling me how her dog started to get better (she is extremely diligent with making homemade food!) until one day when she was out running around and working too hard for too long. After that, the problems all came back.

Two steps forward, one step backward.

An exhausted dog, an exhausted gut….so now we’re like dogs. Seriously.

IBD flares with stress. And even though I’ve known this all along, I brushed it off as, “but I’m not stressed when I’m working out intensely.

That’s the thing about stress and IBD –> I can’t walk into the gym and say:

Dear body, dear Colitis: now I’m going to put stress on you, extreme stress via this workout. But it’s okay because I’m not feeling anxious during it. No “stress.” This is just for fun.

Intense workouts are in fact a stressor on the body.

With everything that I know and all the changes I’ve felt my body go through, I am now confident that perhaps the doctor was correct,

It hurts. You don’t workout. It’s as simple as that.

No matter what it is or why it’s happening or any other answers that I’ll never stop seeking, the one thing is for sure….

My body is over the stress of intense workouts, and while I hate admitting that, the truth always sets us free.

Updated in 2019 to add: THIS is why I don’t think intense workouts and gut healing can co-exist. 

Also, if you’re ready to start your own gut healing journey, grab The Gutsy Girl’s Bible HERE or start with a FREE 21-Day Gut Healing Inspiration Journey HERE.


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  1. Not sure, with all of my gut issues, I’ve never been a regular reader before…but I am now. I notice during IBS flare-ups that anything high impact brings sharp pains to my lower left abdomen (aka, my colon). For a long time, I thought “I just need to push through this.” But why should one part of my body, and an important part at that, suffer for the sake of the rest of it? Who said that the only exercise is intense exercise? Thank you for being honest about the freedom to say no, for the good of healing. Respecting yourself isn’t always about pushing your body harder! It’s about learning when enough is enough.

    1. Hey Brooke! So nice to e-meet you. Welcome to the Gutsy place:) I was out running this morning. Like clockwork, 2.5 miles in, excruciating pain. I was at about an 8:30 per minute pace. Too much. Too much stress. My body let me know immediately. This is all changing, again, the moment I cross the finish line October 20th. More info coming soon:) Hang in there. Follow along. Listen to your wonderful body. It’s telling you something.

  2. I’m in a similar place though not because of IBD. Ive been pushing my body all year long, going from one race to the next. On top of that, I’m much more emotionally stressed than usual. Last week after an 8 mile run I just knew I had to take it easy for awhile so that’s what I’ve been doing. It’s amazing how our minds will say one thing and then suddenly, once we slow down and listen to our body the answer is clear. I’m so sick of the media always talking about faster, harder, stronger – it sends the message that you have to be at that level all the time. That’s not right for everyone and certainly not all the time for anyone. There are never any messages that say, slow down and rest sometimes. I blogged about this yesterday and glad you have too.

    1. I’m sick of it, too, ESPECIALLY for people who are ill and are trying to “keep up with it.” It’s gotten old:) Great thoughts….happy resting!

  3. I always love reason your honest stories with IBD. I’ve been taking a break from running lately because my IBS doesn’t need the stress now. When I do run, I leave my watch at home and run without distance/pace expectations and allow my body walk breaks to rest of I need. Yoga has been magic to my body and gut lately!

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