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Can Exercise Cause Bloating?

By Heather Topham Wood

An intense exercise session can cause you to feel bloated. This sensation may be caused by a condition called hyponatremia, which occurs when sodium levels are reduced in the blood and the cells begin to retain water. If you experience symptoms of hyponatremia -- including bloating, dizziness, fatigue, nausea and muscle weakness -- contact a doctor.

Dehydration

Bloating is a symptom of dehydration. When your body isn't getting enough fluid, it retains water and you’ll likely notice swelling. To prevent dehydration during exercise, sip water before, during and after each workout session. To manage electrolyte levels and prevent your sodium levels from dipping, consider sipping a sports drink in lieu of water.

Heat

Heat conditions can also factor into whether you retain water at the end of an exercise session. When you sweat, you release sodium and water from the body. The reduced sodium and water loss can cause you to retain water and feel bloated at the end of your exercise session. To combat this problem, exercise in climate-controlled environments and wear comfortable, breathable clothing.

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Excessive Fluid Intake

Consuming excessive amounts of water during high-intensity exercise sessions can attribute to hyponatremia. When you drink a lot of water during a marathon or triathlon event, the sodium content of your blood can become diluted. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, people who are prone to this condition are those who tend to sweat less, have smaller body frames and run slower during events.

Considerations

Medical conditions can cause bloating, and the symptom is not always caused by exercise. Additional reasons that you may experience bloating include PMS symptoms, gas, constipation and bowel obstruction. Bloating can also be a side effect of a supplement or medication you're using.

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