Alright, here's my answer, and I promise you I have read abstract upon abstract of every study I find on creatine. It is quite frankly the most researched supplement in the world, even one-uping anabolic steriods.
Most studiese do not infact actually report anyone involved in the trial having any problems at all, cramping, loose bowels, anything.
You do read the occasional cramping, but I wouldn't necessarily it is creatine to blame. Honestly, I blame the supplement companies and the American concept of more is better.
What I feel is more than likely the biggest cause of creatine and anything to do with hydration is the following:
People take their dose of creatine (generally 5 grams, sometimes more, I'll get into later)
They put it into a fluid however, the powder does not desolve completely because they create a oversaturated solution.
Now creatine enters the body, and the body wants to dissolve it.
Water is drawn into the GI tract and out of other parts of the body.
This could be attributed to much if all loose bowel movement, dehydration, cramping as the body draws water that would using being within the muscle cells.
However, in reality this problem can be more or less eliminated, and personally I had zero problems with creatine and hydration.
Research has shown that to maintain elevated muscle creatine levels a dose of 3 grams after a workout is all that is needed for persons less that 200lbs, and it isn't significantly more for people weighing in excess of 200lbs.
Supplement companies are the misinformers here, because the more you use the more money they make. You don't need to use much, some proprietary blends contain 10g's of creatine per serving, you just don't need that much.
If creatine is combined with the right hydration and diet, I do not think one is to expect any ill effects. Also many studies I have read don't report any measurable water retention either. However, I hear people mention gaining wather weight all the time, I didn't notice any water weight gain for myself. Although i put on some decent weight for what my body generally allows as far as gaining lean mass.
Good study, one of literally thousands:
Reports positive effects on gaining lean mass, increasing power/strength, and sprint performance, did not notice change in total body water percentage.
Mueslce mass doesn't necessarily mean better pitching, and I agree, however I think overall mass and weight is very critical for many pitchers.
Creatine is part of a properly designed strength and conditioning program.
In fact I was just reading an article today I about athlete and muscle gain, versus gained strength.
If an athlete is lifting what I consider properly, they will be increasing their overall power more than the increasing mass, per say. Where as a body builder increases mass, and overall strenth gain is less than comprable.
Creatine will help an athlete push out more reps/sets which allows greater strength gains, as well as hypertrophy, however this added strength will be greater than added weight so actually the athlete should become faster. I'm 20lbs heavier from last season, although still way too light, but I am so much faster than I was last year.
When I say lifting to increase power and such, I generally mean no more than 6 reps per set of the main compound exercises. Meaning, squats, deadlifts, presses, rows. 6 reps or less. However, the supplementary lifts to these I am in favor of going to up to around 10 reps as this will help aid in overall gains of strength and mass.
You could do well never taking a set over six reps, and you would gain far more strength than mass, so I do not see that as a problem at all.
Creatine's aid in being able to do more reps is very helpful in pushing yourself to the next level.
One of the biggest things with creatine is the ability to break through plateaus or avoid them all together. Many advanced athletes abilities begin to level off at a point. With creatine you can break through this and continue to increase your athletisicm.