I've been plagued with side stitches when I exercise for as long as I can remember. I don't always get them, but sometimes the pain is excruciating. Sometimes, they are all that stands between me and a "personal best."
Here's what I know...
Alot of times I don't get them. I can swim 3000 yards, or bike for 40 miles no problem. Then sometimes, I even feel them coming on when I'm just walking around the house.
They are always on the right side, just below my rib cage.
When I swim I get them less (almost never) if I alternate breath than if I breath on one side. They are more likely if I breath on the left. I get them more in backstroke than in any other stroke.
I thought drinking gatorade before I swam helped, but yesterday I put 50/50 gatorade/water in my bottle and went for a ride. I was fighting a side stitch and an upset stomach the whole ride.
If I stop and do forced, controled breathing, I can often end a side stitch. I don't like to do this because it could adversely affect my finish in a swim, a time trial or a trialthon. Also, the stitch may or may not come back.
Is there anything that I can do that would consistantly prevent them?
Is there a better source of electrolytes than gatorade?
Should I see a doctor?