The Honest Truth Behind Travel Constipation
This trip has been a culmination of months of planning, monitoring flight deals, researching famous landmarks, and preparing essentials for the big trip. After a long day of traveling, you finally reach your destination. The foreign land intensifies all your senses with the herbaceous food, the fiery sunset, and the local vibe. Suddenly, it’s day 2, and you’re experiencing a slight problem: traveler’s constipation.
Sudden Change in Diet
Changes in the food you eat can cause constipation. If your typical breakfast consists of a bowl of fiber-fortified cereal and you trade it for bready and greasy meals, then you may experience traveler’s constipation.
Changes in Routine
Konstantin Monastyrsky, author of Gut Sense, says our bodies are conditioned to the clock just like Pavlovian dogs were conditioned to the bell. Suppressing the urge to move your bowels makes them impact, dry out, and jam up right before the narrowest juncture of your bowels. This one’s a bit tricky especially if you’re stuck on a boat in the middle of paradise, but note that withholding stool is like plugging your body without a plunger.
Disruption in your internal body clock throws off your everything including your crapping routines.
“Safe Toilet Syndrome”
This was famously coined by Dr. Oz to describe the anxiety caused by unfamiliar toilets. The body must go into relax mode in order to perform the deed. Leaving the comfort of your own home causes the body to tense and tighten up.
So....How Do You Get The Pipes Flowing?
If travel constipation is a constant worry, here are some inexpensive remedies and tips you can follow:
Bring the Essentials
Consider packing fiber-rich snacks, some fruits and berries if it’s a short trip, and maybe a soothing tea. If travel constipation is a recurring problem, then pack a stool softener. Keep in mind that anything unnatural should be consumed with caution. Overuse can lead to dependency and the constipation will be harder to treat.
Incorporate Local (and Exotic) Fruits and Veggies
Vacation mode typically consists of sight-seeing, bumming it out, and devouring savory meals which are usually greasy and unhealthy. You can still enjoy a plate of buttered shrimp and grits, but try to eat a bowl of fruit with it. Incorporating fiber-rich foods with every meal will lessen the discomfort brought about by constipation. Also, try local fruits and vegetables. This will expand your taste bud horizon and allow you to work some fiber into your local cuisine.
Make Time For The Regularly Scheduled Programming
Understand and track the times of day that you use the bathroom when you're at home and relaxed. While on vacation, try to follow your regularly scheduled bathroom breaks even if you don’t have the urge.
H20 H20 and More H20!
When your body is dehydrated, your body will have less fluid to soften your stool. Drink plenty of water to help ease the constipation. Margaritas don’t count! Alcoholic and caffeine filled beverages can actually worsen the problem.
It’s tempting to lay on the beach all day and take in the surrounding beauty, but if you want to avoid feeling constipated, it’s best to stay active. G. Richard Locke III, MD, a gastroenterologist with the Mayo clinic encourages low level activity exercises throughout the day. When you move, your bowels wake up.
Follow these tips on your next vacation to avoid this unwanted malady! And remember, go when you need to go! Happy travels.