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Piriton and cramp.

Steve TcpSteve Tcp Posts: 7,350
I'm currently trying to get in some longer hilly rides as preparation for the Tour Ride in Devon on September 5th but am being plagued again by cramp (or the early signs of it) after around 50 miles. The cramps are mainly in the quads (which I seem able to control) or the muscle that runs down the inside of the thigh (sorry, don't know the techincal name) and when this one goes into spasm I'm done for as far as riding up hills goes. Having done a lot of reading and practise on nutrition and electrolyte replacement, and having suffered from both dehydration AND over hydration, I know that these aren't likely to be the problem, and so I've always tended to simply blame hot weather. However, in June and July, when I tend to suffer the worst cramping, I also take Piriton for hayfever. Although it does a good job on controlling hayfever symptoms (I've tried most remedies over the years and always return to Piriton), the drug does make me drowsy when I'm not active and another listed side effect is muscle weakness which I am also aware of. Cramps are not listed amongst those side effects but I do wonder if they are a by product of the muscle weakness and thought I'd ask here to see if anybody else takes Piriton (or equivalent) and suffers from increased cramp problems whilst they're taking it because as things stand if the antihistamine tab ISN'T part of the problem, then I'm unlikely to be capable of riding 175k with 3200mm of climbing without suffering from ride ending cramp.

Any enlightened thoughts appreciated.
.
Take care,

Steve.

Posts

  • term1teterm1te Posts: 1,462
    I don't know about Priton, but I find that when the first twinges of cramp appear if I change position slightly it helps. I guess it either works a slightly different muscle or frees up a blood vessel to take away the lactic acid? I tend to get it in my calfs if at all. Only ever had really bad cramp once in a race. Nearly fell off and had to hop around at the side of the road for ten minutes. I put that down to dehydration or a very salty meal the night before.

    3200 mm of climbing shouldn't be a problem, its about equivalent to a single flight of stairs.
  • Steve TcpSteve Tcp Posts: 7,350
    Sometimes a position change works to fend off the spasm (as I said I do tend to be able to control the quad cramps), but my cramps tend to come when I'm standing on the pedals or pushing really hard in a sitting position. As you've experienced cramp you know that if you get a bad dose in both legs 32m of climbing becomes almost impossible let alone 3200.
    Take care,

    Steve.
  • Paul EPaul E Posts: 2,052
    I tend to cramp up in my left calf, I can feel it coming on during long climbs and if I shift position or ease up a bit on the pedals it does subside and then I can press on after a short time.

    Not had to take any pills yet this year oddly, I was allergic to catrs but that seems to have vanished so I might have grown out of it. Never did any serious distances when on piriton or any other antihistamine though sorry.
  • archaeoarchaeo Posts: 231
    I had this on sunday - utterly freaky - less than 2 miles out feelin fine warming up etc then sudden crushing pain in the quads, initially right leg only then spread to left - i had to abandon and stagger (literally home) - cant really feel it now and am going to ttry and go out again tonight but was quite worrying? - too much bad living the night before??
    What do you mean I\'m in the wrong gear?
  • rokkalarokkala Posts: 649
    I've ended up with quad cramps in nearly every race i've done this year. Thought initially it might be getting used to the prolonged intensity, then maybe too much caffeine intake. Cut that out and still got it, and i'm always properly hydrated. So no idea what the cause is =[

    Annoying, kinda puts paid to any aspirations when you can't even get out of the saddle!
  • Steve TcpSteve Tcp Posts: 7,350
    Rokkala wrote:
    I've ended up with quad cramps in nearly every race i've done this year. Thought initially it might be getting used to the prolonged intensity, then maybe too much caffeine intake. Cut that out and still got it, and i'm always properly hydrated. So no idea what the cause is =[

    Too much liquid can be a problem as it effectively dilutes your electrolytes. I use Hammer nutrition Endurolytes to keep my salt levels up, and throughout Autumn, Winter and Spring they've worked, which is why I think (hope) my current cramp problem is down to Piriton. Other thoughts - tonic water (quinine is the active anti-cramp ingredient) and Tums, the indigestion tablets. Dunno why they work but some people find they do.
    Take care,

    Steve.
  • archaeoarchaeo Posts: 231
    Sorry to slightly hi jack the thread - but im getting a bit worried about this. Same thing happened last night - rolled out being very carefull not do anything silly but exactly the same - dull ache in right quad, on the outside of the thigh after 2 miles maybe - rapidly escalated into acute stabbing cramp across the quad so by the 4 mile mark I had to stop and painfully roll/ creep home. Only in the one leg this time and wasnt quite as bad as at the weekend. This morning its only slightly tight. I have not altered my bike position at all, I have increased my mileage over the last two months - but gradually and I would have expected this to occur well into a ride not so soon out of the door? It eases then i reidde almost normally then after a minute or so winds back up into pain

    Any ideas?
    What do you mean I\'m in the wrong gear?
  • Steve TcpSteve Tcp Posts: 7,350
    Cramp, like hamstring pulls, seem to affect people differently. A few years back I "pulled" a hamstring playing football and was unable to play again for nearly 3 months, whereas some people claim to have hamstring strains and play again in a week or so. Same with cramps - I do have them at a manageable level, but also I have really debillitating ones. Worst was 3 or 4 years ago on a really cold day when I felt my quad muscles start to spasm and thought that I'd better stretch them. In a moment of stupidity I stood on the pedals to go up a slight rise which of course contracted the muscles, and instantly both legs locked rigid for a minute or so (seemed like 10) and only passed off as I made a controlled fall onto the pavement. After that I was done for and had to get a lift home, and those muscles seemed to be close to cramping for a couple of weeks afterwards, during which time I dared not ride. So I guess what I'm tryiing to say is that some cramps do cause longer term effects that only rest and stretching will cure, so perhaps you need to take a week or two off the bike, or at least spin very easily for a few days so as not to strain the cramping muscle.

    One other thing that I found beneficial is a series of stretches and strengthening exercises "prescribed" to me by my Chiropractor. I went to him with a lower back problem yet I could feel the difference in my tendency to cramp, as well as my on bike comfort, within two to three weeks. It's surprising how many seemingly unconnected niggly ailments the Chiropractor treatment has helped, but cramp is one of the most significant.
    Take care,

    Steve.
  • archaeoarchaeo Posts: 231
    Steve

    That makes sense - I had upped intensity a bit the previous week, which included more out of the saddle climbing - despite no ill effects after this and a generall all round 'good feeling prior to these two instances - I am wondering whether this may have affected the quads in some way. It feels fine today so tonight i think ill experiment on the turbo rather than the road - at least if i expire there i only need to crawl into the house from the garage!

    cheers
    What do you mean I\'m in the wrong gear?
  • pinkertonpinkerton Posts: 2
    Steve Tcp wrote:


    Too much liquid can be a problem as it effectively dilutes your electrolytes. .

    That is nonsense.

    "Electrolytes" ie potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium serve many functions including regulating smooth muscle ie heart muscle contraction.

    If plasma potassium etc was "diluted" people would literally drop dead.

    Google homeostasis. GSCE biology.
  • bearfraserbearfraser Posts: 435
    MAN youve got big hills in"Devon" (3200mm) :lol:
  • Steve TcpSteve Tcp Posts: 7,350
    Sorry about the nonsense Pinkerton, I didn't do GSCE Biology. Nevertheless I did Google homeostasis as you suggested and now wholly concur with your assertion that "If plasma potassium etc was "diluted" people would literally drop dead". However, I also discovered something called Hyponatremia. The description I found of that says: "A low sodium level (hyponatremia) may result from not consuming enough sodium in the diet, excreting too much (in sweat or urine), or being overhydrated. The sodium level may decrease when a person drinks a lot of water without consuming enough salt . My rudimentary grasp of O Level English leads me to read that as too much liquid effectively diluting sodium levels, and although sodium is an electrolyte I recognise that it is only one of them. So I apologise for my rash generalistion and will endeavour to be more specific in future and not say electrolytes when I should have said some electrolytes or even one electrolyte.
    Take care,

    Steve.
  • alfabluealfablue Posts: 8,497
    pinkerton wrote:
    Steve Tcp wrote:


    Too much liquid can be a problem as it effectively dilutes your electrolytes. .

    That is nonsense.

    "Electrolytes" ie potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium serve many functions including regulating smooth muscle ie heart muscle contraction.

    If plasma potassium etc was "diluted" people would literally drop dead.

    Google homeostasis. GSCE biology.
    Pinkerton, you are an ***e!

    Yes, potassium can be diluted without you dropping dead, it is a question of degree. Very much looking forward to your second post on this forum :wink:
  • johncpjohncp Posts: 302
    pinkerton wrote:
    Steve Tcp wrote:


    Too much liquid can be a problem as it effectively dilutes your electrolytes. .

    That is nonsense.
    No it isn't nonsense, people have died from hyponatraemia (low sodium) after over-hydrating themselves http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/352/15/1550

    pinkerton wrote:
    "Electrolytes" ie potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium serve many functions including regulating smooth muscle ie heart muscle contraction.

    If plasma potassium etc was "diluted" people would literally drop dead.
    Absolutely right, although low potassium is much less common, if it does happen people may, indeed, drop dead. Nonetheless sodium can be diluted relatively easily, so - See above :shock:
    If you haven't got a headwind you're not trying hard enough
  • aguillaraguillar Posts: 21
    Steve Tcp wrote:
    I'm currently trying to get in some longer hilly rides as preparation for the Tour Ride in Devon on September 5th but am being plagued again by cramp (or the early signs of it) after around 50 miles............. I also take Piriton for hayfever. Although it does a good job on controlling hayfever symptoms (I've tried most remedies over the years and always return to Piriton), the drug does make me drowsy when I'm not active and another listed side effect is muscle weakness which I am also aware of. Cramps are not listed amongst those side effects but I do wonder if they are a by product of the muscle weakness and thought I'd ask here to see if anybody else takes Piriton (or equivalent) and suffers from increased cramp problems whilst they're taking it because as things stand if the antihistamine tab ISN'T part of the problem, then I'm unlikely to be capable of riding 175k with 3200mm of climbing without suffering from ride ending cramp.

    Any enlightened thoughts appreciated.
    .

    I believe that Piriton is one of the very early anti-histamines and blocks a broad range of biological processes including the histamine reaction. This is why it had side effects like drowsiness. The more recent drugs such as cetirizine and levocetirizine amongst a number of others are much more targeted than piriton and have less side effects. Keep trying different ones, it is worth the effort to find one that suits you as I would say piriton is to be avoided where possible.

    PS I had cramp in much the same way as you and found increasing the salt level in my diet and chucking some salt [Sainsburys reduced sodium salt] in my energy drink has fixed it this year.
  • Steve TcpSteve Tcp Posts: 7,350
    aguillar wrote:

    I believe that Piriton is one of the very early anti-histamines and blocks a broad range of biological processes including the histamine reaction. This is why it had side effects like drowsiness. The more recent drugs such as cetirizine and levocetirizine amongst a number of others are much more targeted than piriton and have less side effects. Keep trying different ones, it is worth the effort to find one that suits you as I would say piriton is to be avoided where possible.

    Took your advice Aguillar and have been on cetirizine hydrochloride for the last two days. So far so good - fewer hayfever symptoms than when I'm on Piriton and also less drowsiness. The bigger test will be tomorrow after I've ridden 65 miles with 1600m of ascent - if I don't cramp during the ride, and am not streaming in nose and eyes afterwards, then I'm converted for sure.

    Thanks for the advice.
    Take care,

    Steve.
  • Steve TcpSteve Tcp Posts: 7,350
    Did 75 miles in the Shropshire Highlands Challenge yesterday (pretty good going on a 63mile course - I learnt that other people's Garmin's aren't infalible and that I shouldn't take my helmet off at checkpoints because if I do I'll definitely forget it and have to go back) and got no cramp, no hayfever, no problems at all in fact and I felt great on the bike again this morning. So Piriton is offcially dumped in favour of cetirizine hydrochloride on the basis of my very un-scientific but self convincing study (and also not forgetting the part played by properly administered Hammer Nutrition Endurolyte, Heed and Sustained Energy powders/ drinks).
    Take care,

    Steve.
  • Another thing about piriton, it can make you drowsy and lethargic if you take too much. It is often used/abused as a sedative for children. Used to know someone who gave it to their kids at bed time. I appreciate kids are smaller but no doubt it has a mild sedative effect on adults also ?

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  • rdtrdt Posts: 869
    edited June 2010
    Steve, if you find that cetirizine on its own doesn't do the trick, and nasal symptoms predominate, consider teaming it up with Beconase nasal spray. It's safe to combine Beconase with cetirizine or loratadine, the usual 1-a-day antihistamines people use.

    As an inhaled corticosteroid, be aware it takes several days, perhaps even a week or two, for Beconase to begin working fully. Ideally, you should start using it before the hayfever season begins, and use use it every day without skipping. i.e. not just on days where you have symptoms, as it won't be effective if used like that.

    I did this for the first time this year, using just Beconase spray on its own, and so far I've had zero hayfever symptoms for the first time in my adult life. June/July are normally hellish for me, so it's been a revelation.
  • Steve TcpSteve Tcp Posts: 7,350
    Radioactiveman - would never use Piriton on children except in syrup form as an antihistamine but it certainly does make you drowsy. My wife occasionally pops one before bed if she's had a couple of nights where she's had trouble dropping off to sleep and it knocks her out every time. When I've been on it this year I feel that if I stop, sit down and relax I'll be fighting off sleep within 45 minutes at any time of day, and waking up in the morning is hard which is a problem that I don't usually have.

    rdt - I have to be honest and say that, at this stage, cetirizine is the most effective antihistamine I've ever used as it has almost completely nullified my symptoms and does so for as close to 24 hours as makes no difference. I'd almost be tempted to call it a summertime life changing discovery.
    Take care,

    Steve.
  • rdtrdt Posts: 869
    Good to hear you've banished the hayfever hell :D Having cold/flu-like symptoms for a couple of months a year ain't much fun!
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