Epidemlology of exercise-related transient abdominal pain at the Sydney City to Surf community run

J Sci Med Sport. 2005 Jun;8(2):152-62. doi: 10.1016/s1440-2440(05)80006-4.


A questionnaire was administered to 848 participants (76% runners, 24% walkers) at the conclusion of the 14 km City to Surf community run in order to investigate their experience of exercise-related transient abdominal pain (ETAP). Twenty-seven percent of respondents reported experiencing ETAP during the event, with the condition reported more frequently (p< 0.01) by runners (30%) than walkers (16%). ETAP was mostly described as well-localised (88%) and of an aching (25%), sharp (22%) or cramping (22%) sensation. The most commonly-reported sites of the pain were the right (46%) and left lumbar (23%) regions of the abdomen. Forty-two percent of the respondents who experienced ETAP reported that the pain was detrimental to their performance. Reports of ETAP decreased with age (r= -0.23, p< 0.01) but were unrelated to gender, body mass index or the time taken to complete the event. Among respondents who ran, those who consumed a large mass of food relative to body weight in the time interval 1-2 hr before the event were more likely to develop symptoms of ETAP (p < 0.05). The nutritional content of the pre-event meal did not influence the experience of ETAP. Sufferers of ETAP were more likely to experience nausea (r = 0.12, p< 0.01) and report shoulder tip pain (r= 0.14, p< 0.01). The results indicate that ETAP is a commonly experienced problem and provide insights into the cause of the complaint.

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Pain / epidemiology*
  • Abdominal Pain / etiology*
  • Abdominal Pain / physiopathology
  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Body Mass Index
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Cramp / epidemiology
  • Muscle Cramp / etiology
  • Muscle Cramp / physiopathology
  • New South Wales / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Running / physiology
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Walking / physiology*