Moderators: melkor

why heartburn when working out????

Quote  |  Reply
This question is for my mother- she is 50something and has recently returned to exercise after being off the wagon for awhile. She works out at Curves doing the cardio/toning machines that are set up as stations that you follow (this is my understanding-I've never done it). Her problem is that now any time she works out-especially when doing cardio she gets terrible heartburn. She says sometimes it's so bad she thinks she might throw up. She takes tums or rolaids when this happens, but we're wondering if anyone knows why this is happening.

She eats fairly well- drinks lots of water and tries to avoid cokes. She does not think she takes in alot of acidicky food so what could be the problem? Please help if you have any ideas. Thanks in advance for all your input!!!
1 Reply
I have GERD and get it when exercising. My GI doc says "that doesn't count." Don't ask me what she means by that (cuz my GI doc likes to be an ambiguous jerk)... I guess she means that it is quite common to get acid reflux when you overextend yourself during exercise!

With that said - please have your mom see a doctor to rule out anything more serious!! Sometimes heart problems mimic GI problems. It is really rare, but, it is always wise at that age to get a full checkup and the doctor's okay before starting any exercise program.

Recently I ended up having a full workup - echogram, ekg, chest xray, cardio stress test... because I not only had indigestion/heartburn, but I was also getting chest pains. So they ran me through the works, it all turned out okay - my heart is great. It was just heartburn. But still, it is better safe than sorry. Especially for women... doctors often misdiagnose us and heart attacks are the number one killer for us.

Assuming your mom gets a thorough check up and her doctor okays her workouts, you might suggest to your mom:

- to take an OTC acid reducer *before* her workouts. I like cimetidine (tagamet). It has also been shown to aid in weight loss, so that's a plus! These work far better than tums and rolaids.

- to workout on an empty stomach, either first thing in the morning, or 2-3 hours after eating.

- to track what she eats and when she gets the heartburn. Some people have triggers. My triggers are bananas- they don't bother me usually, but eat one before a workout and forget it. Ugh.

- to slooowwww down! The harder she works out, the more likely it is to get heartburn, in my experience.

- to cool down... I have been having more problems this summer, working out in the hot weather, than I do normally in cooler weather.

If your mom only gets heartburn when she works out, I really can't stress enough the importance of her getting in to see a doctor to check out her heart. I get heartburn at other times, not just exercising. If your mom never gets it except when overexerting herself, that would concern me, if I was a doctor.
1 Reply