You’ve blocked off your calendar, enabled your out-of-office email reply, and mentally high-fived yourself for scoring a great vacation. But you notice something a little off a few days into the trip. You’re bloated, gassy and it’s been a while since you last pooped. This is called travel constipation, and it’s surprisingly common. But there are things you can do to prevent it.
Changes in Routine
When traveling, your normal sleep and eating schedule is disrupted, which can throw off the bowel movement cycle. This is an excellent reason to keep as much routine as possible on your trip. Eat at the same time you usually do and get enough sleep.
Drinking plenty of water is essential while traveling to prevent dehydration, which can also contribute to constipation. It would help if you avoided drinks that contain alcohol and caffeine, which can be dehydrating. Instead, opt for water, juice, tea, or plain milk.
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You are trying new foods while on vacation can also trigger constipation. This is because many new foods are high in fat and can slow your digestive tract. Try to eat healthy, whole foods like fruits, vegetables and beans. If you’re concerned about the quality of local food, bring some of your snacks from home to eat during your trip.
Any anxiety while you’re traveling can trigger constipation, and this is because the brain and gut are interconnected. Your gut is often referred to as “your second brain.”
Lack of Mobility
Being stuck in one place can cause your muscles to shrink and decrease your motility, which is the ability of your colon to move waste through the intestines. To prevent this, try to get up and walk around during your trip, especially if you’re taking a long plane ride.
If you’re struggling with travel constipation, talk to your doctor. They may recommend that you take a laxative to help ease your symptoms. However, be sure only to use them for a short period, as prolonged laxative use can lead to dependency. If you need a laxative, talk to your doctor about the best type. They can help you decide if a stool softener or bulk-forming laxative would be best for you. If you’re using a laxative, it’s recommended that you begin taking them a few days before your trip to give them enough time to work. You can add them to a glass of warm water to make them more effective. Add them to a fruit juice or smoothie to make the liquid more flavorful. This will also make it easier to swallow them. You can even buy them over-the-counter or ask your doctor to prescribe a medication for you. Just be sure to read the label carefully. Some medications are not safe to take on board airplanes.