Traveling with digestive issues can be a nightmare especially for those who suffer from IBS, Chron’s or Celiac disease. Managing irregular and often painful bowel symptoms involves much more than accommodating a minor inconvenience. Travel, whether for leisure or work, can be difficult especially if you suffer from digestive issues like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or celiac disease. The uncertainty of when and where symptoms may occur can cause fear of not being able to control symptoms when away from familiar surroundings.
The rigors of travel, anxiety about bathroom access, strange foods and even disrupted sleep schedules can all serve to make the discomforts of digestive issues like IBS even worse. Luckily, there are things you can do to maximize your comfort level as you venture out. You should not have to suffer. Travel should be something you enjoy.
Traveling with Digestive Issues: 10 Travel Tips to help you avoid and manage symptoms.
Be Mentally Prepared
While most people make basic travel plans and check off their packing lists, you should visual and rehearse your travel arrangements. Mental rehearsal is an effective tool to prepare your body and your mind for your upcoming trip.
Close your eyes and walk yourself through the trip. Allow yourself the opportunity to identify the aspects that are of particular concern to you. Then open your eyes and develop a plan for handling any “worst case” scenarios. Close your eyes again and rehearse your plan. Visualize yourself managing the challenges in a relaxed and confident manner. This will enhance your ability to stay calm. If you have time, do this multiple times before you take the trip and you will be able to lean on what you rehearsed in your mind.
By taking active steps in advance, you will empower yourself to better deal with different scenarios.
- Schedule an appointment with your doctor to discuss potential over the counter or prescription medication that might minimize symptoms or discomfort during the trip. The medical providers at Ocean Family Gastroenterology can help you create a plan.
- Pack smart. Include the items you might need like special snacks, baby wipes, a handy change of clothes or Depends.
- Map out bathroom access. There are Bathroom Finding APPs that you can download to your mobile device that should help to ease anxiety.
Travel is always a challenge when it comes to healthy eating. However, if you want to avoid unwanted symptoms you will need to try to stay away from high-fat and fried foods. You can scope out online menus in advance, if you know your restaurant itinerary.
Before Traveling with Digestive Issues; Learn How to Relax!
Travel is stressful for healthy people. Stress exacerbates digestive health symptoms like those of IBS. It is imperative that you learn what relaxation exercise works best for you and practice before you leave. Incorporating these into your travel routine will help keep you calm reducing stressors that could cause your IBS or other symptoms.
Talk About Your Situation with Your Travel Companions
Do not keep your IBS or other digestive health issues a secret. This will only make things more difficult to manage on your trip. Being honest about your dietary, lodging or other needs will free you from worrying about inconveniencing others. You might even learn that you share common health concerns with someone else!
Do not Let Travel Throw Off Your Body Clock
Your body relies on an internal rhythm. When you throw that rhythm off, your body reacts negatively. Try your best to maintain consistency with mealtimes and sleep schedules.
If possible, maintain light exercise to reduce stress and keep your blood pumping. Stop regularly at rest stops on long car rides, move about on plane rides or go for a brisk walk if you are sedentary for a while.
Getting dehydrated is one of the easiest things you can do and one of the worst things you can do when you travel. Adequate fluid intake is crucial for optimum digestion. If you do not drink enough water, you risk becoming constipated.
Similarly, if you are prone to diarrhea, you will need to replenish any fluids you lose. Drink plenty of water. Try to avoid alcohol and caffeine—they not only contribute to dehydration, but they also can irritate your digestive system.
Use the lessons we learned from COVID-19 to protect yourself from unwanted infectious disease – mostly travelers’ diarrhea.
- Wash your hands often / Use hand sanitizer
- Do not touch your face / nose / mouth
- Brush your teeth with bottled water
- Do not eat at street vendors / unhygienic food sources
- Avoid raw meats and seafood
Take your physician’s contact information along with you in case of emergency and relax. Remember you planned well and enjoy yourself!
Schedule an Appointment for Irritable Bowel Syndrome Near Toms River, NJ
Do you suffer from IBS symptoms? Not sure if is IBS or something else? The digestive health professionals at Ocean Family Gastroenterology specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of irritable bowel syndrome and many other digestive health issues. You do not have to suffer. Contact us at 732-281-1590 or online, to schedule a consultation.