Irritable Bowel Syndrome/Gastroparesis and exercise


Hello- Heather I have fairly weak digestion but have made improvements with dietary changes and supplementation. However, I am still unable to weight train and do certain exercises that I used to do all the time and its frustrating because physical fitness if very important to me. Right now if i exercise/lift weight too close to meals it seems to trigger a horrible upper GI spasm that can last 1-2 months. Symptoms are constant burping and indigestion 20-30 min after meals. My GI doc said i have a motility problem but with digestive enzymes i have been able to overcome the problem with success.  however, the issue seems to be mechanical and influenced by physical activity as well and thats what i cannot fix.  I did 60 pushups around thanksgiving and since then i have had a horrible flare up.  Can you recommend any treatments for this? I almost feel like i need to do something physical to strengthen the integrity of my esophagus and stomach muscles so that this will not happen anymore.  i would very much appreciate any feedback

Best Regards,


Hi Jason.  I'm not familiar with gastroparesis but with IBS intense exercise can trigger symptoms. It's the adrenaline causing the muscle spasms.  How do you do with swimming, walking, or yoga? Often these are good options for IBS when exercise causes problems.  Do make sure you wait two hours after eating to exercise.


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Heather Van Vorous


I can address questions regarding diet, cooking, recipes, and non-pharmaceutical supplements (soluble fiber, herbal, probiotics, etc.) for IBS. I can supply information sources about diagnostic guidelines, symptoms, and the medical pathology of IBS, but I cannot give a diagnosis or analyze test results a patient has obtained. I would prefer not to answer questions about prescription drugs and diagnostic tests. PLEASE DO NOT TELL ME YOUR SYMPTOMS AND THEN ASK ME TO DIAGNOSE YOU!


I'm the founder and CEO of, an organization dedicated to serving people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. My goal is to offer education, support, and help that allows people with IBS to successfully manage their symptoms through lifestyle modifications.

I'm the author of Eating for IBS, the only explicit dietary guide and cookbook for people with bowel disorders. Eating for IBS then led to my second book, The First Year: IBS, a comprehensive view of the disorder and every way to successfully manage it. Together, these works have become the two best-selling, best-reviewed IBS books in America.

My writing has led to an ongoing Canadian clinical research study of the groundbreaking dietary guidelines for Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Eating for IBS; this work also led to my inclusion in the 4th edition of Who's Who in Medicine and Healthcare. Today's Dietitian has featured my IBS dietary guidelines, and my work has reached gastroenterologists and internists. I'm the author of "Heather's IBS Newsletter", which is free to subscribers and is published twice monthly. As a result, I've become recognized as the foremost patient-expert on IBS in America. I've personally had IBS since age 9.

I now teach classes on managing IBS through lifestyle modifications, I developed the Heather's Tummy Care line of organic medical foods for the dietary management of IBS, and I'm planning to work with corporate HR departments to offer employee IBS education programs. I host Heather Cooks!, the Seattle television cooking show for good digestive health, which is now available on DVD and also on the HelpForIBS YouTube Channel.

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