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August 9, 2022

How to prevent or soothe traveller's diarrhea

Going on a trip this summer and fall? Remember to carry these digestive remedies.


The COVID travel restrictions have been lifted, and Americans are eager to get back on the road. Some estimates say that 75% of us will travel within the United States this summer, and new data shows that international travel from the United States was more than twice as high in May 2022 as it was in May 2021.

However, keep your digestive health in mind while you pack your bags. Travel companions with stomach issues, including diarrhoea, constipation, and indigestion, are all too prevalent.


Travel messes with a lot of the body's natural cycles, including digestion, according to Dr. Kyle Staller, a gastroenterologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, which is affiliated with Harvard. Time shifts changed eating habits, and a lack of sleep are all likely to blame, particularly in people with sensitive gastrointestinal systems.

Here is a closer look at three typical digestive problems, along with advice on how to avoid and treat them.
 

Travel tummy: Diarrhea 


The most common travel-related ailment is diarrhoea. People typically experience cramps, urgency, and loose, watery faeces. Intermittent diarrhoea may be from an infection caused by consuming contaminated food or water, intestinal parasites, or it may be induced by a change in the environment or stress.
 
The easiest approach to preventing diarrhoea when travelling is to avoid contaminated food and drink and to practise excellent hygiene by often washing your hands.
 
Keep yourself hydrated. Factory-sealed bottled water is the most secure choice in underdeveloped nations. Also, always brush your teeth with bottled water. Avoid ice as it can be made from contaminated water. 

Pick your foods and beverages wisely. Avoid eating food that has been sitting on a buffet and only consumes cooked items that are served hot. 

Eat only peeled or washed fruits and vegetables that have been washed in clean water. Sanitize your hands. 

Frequently wash your hands in warm water and soap, especially after using the restroom and right before eating. As a backup, use a hand sanitiser with alcohol. 

Dealing with diarrhoea: The majority of diarrheal bouts end on their own two to five days after beginning. However, if your diarrhoea is bloody, you have significant abdominal pain, a fever, or it lasts longer than a week or two, you should consult a doctor.
 
If not, follow these instructions to speed up your recovery:
 
Replenish any lost fluids.

By consuming bottled water and electrolyte-containing low-sugar sports drinks, you can prevent dehydration. Apply over-the-counter remedies. Loperamide (Imodium) and bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol, Kaopectate) are the active chemicals in many digestive aids that help alleviate cramps and reduce the frequency of loose, watery stools. 

Constipation while travelling 

Constipation occurs when you break your typical routine while travelling. Two possible causes are sitting for long periods of time, such as on lengthy flights, trains, or buses, and having your regular diet interrupted. Constipation may persist for many days or longer.


How to avoid constipation

If you are prone to it, there are some pre-travel precautions you may take to help you avoid it.

Add more fibre and fluids. 

Make sure your diet is high in fibre before a trip because it helps to soften and makes stools easier to pass. Several fruits, such as apples (with the peel), raspberries, and pears, as well as beans and whole-grain products like bran cereal, are high in fibre. Additional fibre options include methylcellulose (Citrucel) and psyllium (Metamucil). 

Avoid consuming an excessive amount of fibre at once because this can cause bloating and gas. In addition to increasing your fibre consumption, you also need to drink adequate water.

Oral laxatives sold over the counter can help things move along if you're experiencing constipation.

Bulk-forming agents 

They consist of psyllium, methylcellulose, and calcium polycarbophil (FiberCon) (Metamucil). They take a day or so to start working but are effective forever. As instructed on the label, take these with lots of drinks. Stool softeners These drugs soften the consistency of the stool and mix with it to make it easier to pass. Look for items that include sodium docusate (Colace, Surfak). indigestion while travelling. Your body simply doesn't agree with some things. Your stomach might become upset while travelling, just like it would at home, and cause indigestion, which causes stomach pain, bloating, and heartburn. This could happen if you try the local cuisine or eat more than normal.

How to prevent indigestion

Try to limit your eating and drinking when travelling because it can throw off your regular eating and drinking schedule.

Watch how you drink. Don't overdo it because, for some people, even a single drink might start an episode. 

Avoid the trigger foods. Many IBS sufferers struggle to tolerate foods high in carbohydrates, or FODMAPs (short for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols). Milk products, broccoli, beans and lentils, wheat, garlic, onions, apples, and fruit juices are examples of common FODMAP foods. portion control Indigestion risk can increase with overeating.

Focus on eating more often and in smaller amounts, like four small meals a day instead of three big ones. Speed up. Additionally, if you eat too quickly or converse while eating, you could swallow too much air and get excess gas. Dealing with indigestion: Even while indigestion typically goes away on its own in a short period of time, there are techniques to make it easier.
 
Utilize over-the-counter medications. 

Depending on your symptoms, you may benefit from taking antacid tablets or liquids, upset-tummy medications like bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol, Kaopectate), acid blockers for heartburn relief like omeprazole (Prilosec), lansoprazole (Prevacid), or H2 blockers like famotidine, or even a combination of these (Pepcid, Pepcid AC), a gas-relieving medication with simethicone, such as Gas-X. Contact your doctor if you need to use these treatments frequently for longer than a few weeks.

Photo by Alex Azabache from Pexels
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No Health content on this site, regardless of date, should be used to replace direct medical advice from your doctor or another trained practitioner.
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