Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Ulcerative Colitis Health Center

Font Size

Exercising When You Have a GI Disorder

Exercise tips for people with Crohn's disease, irritable bowel syndrome, or other gastrointestinal disorders.

Exercise Tips

Despite the benefits, people with GI disorders do face some obstacles when it comes to getting -- and staying -- in shape. Here are seven tips for making exercising easier when you have a GI disorder.

1. Minimize Impact. Bryant, who is also a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine, recommends "low-impact activities that aren't going to require a great deal of jarring and jostling. Try yoga, tai chi, Pilates -- exercises with a movement component but a focus on rhythmic breathing. Exercising strengthens the pelvic floor muscles in both men and women and makes exercising safer."

2. Go Uphill. People with incontinence should walk, not run, on treadmills, and increase the track's elevation, Bryant tells WebMD.

3. Map Out the Restrooms. Whether you're in the gym or walking the park, scout out the bathrooms before beginning your workouts. GI conditions vary, but the one commonality is that everyone with leakage "knows where all the bathrooms are," says Sander Binderow, MD, a colorectal surgeon at Saint Joseph's Hospital in Atlanta.

4. Plan Potty Breaks. Use common sense, says Bryant, by going to the bathroom before you start exercising.

5. Choose Your Sports Wisely. Golf, Bryant says, is a lot safer than basketball or jogging.

6. Listen to Your Body. "I'm single and dating and feel fortunate to be in remission so that it doesn't interfere with my life," says Horgan, who is working on her master's degree in social work. But when she feels a flare coming on, she doesn't push herself physically.

7. Keep Your Doctor in the Loop. Don't be shy about talking to your doctors about what happens when you exercise. Additionally, if you are fatigued, unable to eat, or having persistent diarrhea or bleeding, see your doctor, says Ernesto R. Drelichman, MD, director of the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

When Medications Make You Feel Sick

Both ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease often can be controlled with medication, though surgery is still performed when drugs don't work, Drelichman tells WebMD.

In many cases, he says, medications can lessen symptoms of diarrhea, abdominal cramping, and bloating. Some medications, however, can cause problems themselves, such as weight gain, lack of energy, bone weakening, and dehydration "to the point where you feel like you have a constant hangover," Drelichman says.

Today on WebMD

basket of vegetables
IBD Overview Slideshow
Ulcerative Colitis Managing Flares
what is ibs

Supplements UC
Ulcerative Colitis Health Check
Ulcerative Colitis Diet
Ulcerative Colitis Diet Yogurt

Ulcerative Colitis Surgery
Ulcerative Colitis Medications
Exercising When You Have A GI Disorder
Picture Of The Intestines
Image Collection