Why Do I Get Constipated When I Travel?

Published on October 11, 2016

Feeling bloated and sluggish are a couple of things that holiday makers don’t plan on, especially when you envisaged spending the best part of your break poolside. However, experiencing constipation and irregular bowel movements when you are travelling are common.

There are many factors that can cause constipation while travelling, including changes in your diet such as the introduction of new foods, an increase in alcohol and rich foods, and the tendency to suppress the urge to empty your bowels until you are at a more hygienic or convenient location.

Did you know that up to 20 percent of Australians are affected by constipation with women suffering more than men do?

Causes of Constipation While Travelling

You are likely to hold stress in your bowel when you are away from home and travelling which can lead to constipation. Changing time zones, eating unfamiliar food, and experiencing different climates while travelling are also common causes. Exotic spices and ingredients, changes in your daily routine, large amounts of rich food and even higher temperatures can also put strain on your bowels and stomach causing you pain and discomfort while on the toilet.

Not drinking enough fluid can also be a cause of constipation. When you are away on holidays you often avoid drinking fluids in an effort to avoid needing to go to the toilet. Drinking water however is critical not just for your bowel health but your general health and wellbeing.

It is completely normal to need a couple of days to acclimatise to newer conditions, depending on the natural predisposition of your body and type of changes. Your days of adjustment can be easier by eating lighter, eating fibre rich meals, and drinking more water. If you do increase your fibre, it can actually cause further constipation if you don’t drink enough fluids. Therefore, you should drink around two litres of fluid each day whether it is from water, tea, juices, or soups.

Other traveller’s constipation causes include:

  • Medication – Some medications, including some strong painkillers can cause constipation.
  • Psychological Causes – You might avoid the toilet when not in your usual environment.

How to Relieve Constipation

Constipation relief can include:

Use of Stimulant laxatives: this constipation medication stimulates the bowel and help soften the stool with suppositories offering immediate relief, and tablets or liquid drops, which when taken at night, give relief the next morning. Stool softeners can also be used and work between 1 to 4 days.

Changes in your diet

This can involve increasing your daily fibre intake (30g each day is recommended by dieticians).

If you are unable to consume an adequate amount of fresh fruit, vegetables and whole grain food in your daily diet as a natural remedy, fibre supplements can help.

Drinking more fluid

There is nothing set in stone on how frequently you should visit the toilet or which constipation treatment is best for you. However, if you are feeling uncomfortable, are straining on the toilet, or notice you are experiencing

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