I did two outdoor runs last week with NO left side stitches. Went back to running on the treadmill today (a different treadmill at that!) and got the darn stitch in my left side again!! It has to be the treadmill but I don't know how. It's so frustrating!
Your problem might be the yogurt. It's high in protein which takes longer to empty from your stomach than carbs. I have found that any time I eat yogurt within a couple of hours of running or even swimming, it sits like a rock in my stomach. While yogurt doesn't cause side stitches for me, it could be causing the problem for you. You might want to try a different protein, like peanut butter, or don't have any protein at all and see what happens.
"God gave you your body as a gift, so you should take care of it." - My Mom
Thanks for the info Julie. Unfortunately, it's on my left side, not the right where the diaphragm is. I'm going to try to eat a little earlier and see if that helps, but I eat at least 1.5 hours to 2 hours before I run and it's usually a light meal (toast w/ PB & greek yogurt) so I don't know if that's the cause. All I do know is that it hurts. :(
I just got this today from our training coach, hope it helps.
Stitches By Bob Roncker Stitches that occur while running can be very frustrating and debilitating. Here are a few points that may be of help. What Causes a Side Stitch? Side stitches are a muscle spasm of the "diaphragm". The diaphragm is a dome shaped muscle that separates the chest cavity from the abdominal cavity. It provides a boundary or muscular "plate" between the organs of the abdomen and the chest cavity where the heart and lungs are located. The diaphragm assists in breathing. When we inhale, taking air into the lungs, the diaphragm moves down. When we exhale, the diaphragm moves up. Spasms of the diaphragm occur because of the movement of the internal organs as they jounce up and down while running. They pull down and strain the diaphragm as it moves up while exhaling. These inner organs, liver, spleen, stomach, small intestine and colon form a weight of several pounds. They hang from several ligaments that are fixed to the diaphragm. The impact of every step forces the inner organs to move downwards. The continuous up and down stress may cause a cramp, or stitch, in the diaphragm. The liver, the largest organ in the abdominal cavity, is usually the cause of this. It is situated in the upper right abdomen. Hence, most people experience stitches on their right side, immediately below the ribs. A stomach full of food may cause this as well. In addition, most runners are "footed". They begin and end a respiratory cycle on the same foot while running, usually in a stride to breathing ratio of 4:1 while jogging and 2:1 while running very fast. As the runner's breathing becomes synchronized with his/her stride, exhalation consistently occurs on the same leg. If one repeatedly exhales (causing the diaphragm to move up) when the right foot hits the ground (forcing the organs on the right side of the body to move down), a side stitch may develop. Tips For Preventing Stitches Don't eat within one hour of running and only eat lightly within three hours of running to allow it to digest prior to the event. Carbohydrates digest more quickly than proteins or fats. Avoid drinking reconstituted fruit juices and beverages that are concentrated and high in carbohydrate before and during exercise. Do drink water or a lightly concentrated sport drink. The stomach drains fluids rather quickly. Dehydration is one of the most common causes of fatigue and should be avoided. The most effective way to prevent a side stitch is to avoid "shallow" breathing. Shallow breathing can be defined as taking in a small volume of air with each breath, using only a small portion of the total lung capacity. When this occurs while running, the diaphragm remains in a consistently high position and never lowers enough to allow the connective ligaments of the liver to relax. The diaphragm becomes stressed and a spasm or "stitch" results. Instead, one should breathe "deeply", also known as "belly breathing" while running. This allows the diaphragm to fully lower and reduces the stress on it. Try this exercise. Lie down on the floor, place a hand on your belly and breathe deeply. You are belly breathing correctly if you feel your hand rise slightly. If only your chest moves up, you are not breathing deeply enough. How Do I Get Rid Of A Stitch? Should you suffer from stitch, the first (and best) cure is to slow down or stop until the stitch is gone. If you do not want to stop, you can try to press your hand onto the part of your abdomen where the stitch is, and release the pressure on expiration. Bend forward at the waist (45-90 degrees) to stretch the diaphragm and ease the pain. Repeat this several times. A technique that is very successful in preventing side stitches while running is to periodically "purse" the lips while exhaling, as if blowing out the candles on a birthday cake. Again, deep breathing is required to be effective. Another technique that helps is to exhale as the left foot strikes the ground, instead of the right foot. The organs attached to the diaphragm on the left side of the body aren't as big as those on the right side, so there is less strain on the diaphragm. Stretching may relieve the pain of a stitch. Raise your right arm straight up and lean toward the left. Hold for 30 seconds, release, and then stretch the other side. Additional Thoughts On Stitches. Running downhill exacerbates side stitches since it increases the forces exerted on the entire body with each foot plant. Novice runners might walk down hills until breathing techniques are mastered.
On Monday and yesterday's runs, I got side stitches after running for a couple of minutes and they lasted the ENTIRE run!! I was on the treadmill so I slowed down my pace, but I wasn't going very fast to begin with (5.2 mph!!). I also tried to take deep breaths but they would not go away. I've had problems with these in the past, but it's been several weeks. Plus, it happened in my LEFT side both times, right under my ribs.
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