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Travel Tips for Tummy Troubles

Inconsistent mealtimes, unhealthy snacks and uncommon meals often go hand-in-hand with trips. As a result, most people have experienced some degree of gastrointestinal (GI) discomfort when traveling. But if you or a loved one suffer from a GI condition such as Crohn's, colitis or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), travel can be even more uncomfortable if not approached correctly.

As the holidays approach, keep our travel tips in mind to avoid any unwelcome GI upset!

General Trip Tips for Avoiding GI Trouble

  • Wash your hands: It can be easy to pick up germs from gas stations, airports, family members etc. Handwashing is proven to be the best way to avoid spreading germs.
  • Stay hydrated: Increasing your fluid intake before and during your travels can help keep your systems regulated.
  • Pack medication: If you have a known condition, be sure to bring along prescriptions. If you're concerned about general, non-diagnosed issues, pack a pill organizer with anything you or your loved ones might need.
  • Stay low stress: Stress can have an unwelcome impact on the stomach; it's important to remain as calm as possible throughout the travel process. (Easier said than done, unfortunately.)
  • Understand it might happen anyway: Even the best plans can come unraveled. Be prepared for anything to come your way.

Tips for Trouble with Indigestion

  • Sip soda in moderation: Soda can cause bloating and gas, especially if consumed in larger amounts than normal.
  • Avoid what ails you: If you know a food causes issues at home, do your best to avoid it on the road - even if it means sacrificing convenience.

Tips for Trouble with Diarrhea

  • Stay well hydrated: Drink lots of fluid, such as water and low-sugar sports drinks with electrolytes.
    • Spending a long time in a car? Make a hydration plan, even if it means a few more stops for bathroom breaks.
  • Pack diarrhea medication: Make sure the meds contain active ingredients loperamide (Imodium) or bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol, Kaopectate). These reduce diarrhea frequency and can ease cramping.

Tips for Trouble with Constipation

  • Eat fiber: Be sure to increase your fiber intake with foods like whole-wheat grains, apples or pears to get ahead of the potential problem. (Increase your fluid intake too.)
  • Pack laxatives: Over-the-counter laxatives, like bulk-forming agents psyllium (Metamucil) or calcium polycarbophil (FiberCon), can help keep or get things moving. Stool softeners are good to have on hand too.  
Family;Health Pediatric Gastroenterology