Have you ever been on vacation and had the frustrating experience of being constipated? Travel can affect digestion and for some, that means constipation. Even those who are regular at home can experience constipation when traveling.
If you’ve ever wondered, “Why do I get constipated when I travel?” you are not alone. It’s a fairly common phenomenon.
In this post, we’ll talk about why constipation happens during travel and what you can do to stay regular when you’re away from home.
Causes of Constipation When Travelling
You might be more active when you’re on vacation, but what about the long stretches of travel?
Road trips and air travel mean sitting for an extended period. If you’re not used to it, your bowels may protest. That’s because exercise and activity help to keep us regular.
Changes in Diet
When you travel, your eating habits change. Generally, you’ll be eating out more often, which almost inevitably means eating less fibre. Most restaurant meals are very low in fibre compared to healthy home cooking.
Long drives and air travel create major disincentives for drinking water. Who wants to use the gas station or airline bathrooms? And yet, without enough water, constipation is inevitable.
Strangely enough, some people just can’t poop in public or unfamiliar washrooms. This is a mixed curse. If you’re among those who freeze up at hotels, restaurants, and your in-laws’, this reticence probably saves you some embarrassment. Yet, it’s not comfortable.
Suppressing the Urge
Related to shy bowels, resisting the urge can cause constipation when travelling. Think of your bowels as slightly vengeful and a bit sulky. If you ignore your bowels when you need to go, your bowels may take revenge by refusing to budge when you finally get to a comfortable, private bathroom.
Ironically enough, our holidays can be stressful! There are logistics, lines, and of course, interpersonal friction (i.e. frenzied kids, spousal spats). Stress manifests in tension, and tension in the digestive tract can cause constipation when travelling.
Symptoms of Constipation from Travel
Technically, constipation is defined as passing fewer than three stools a week. If your stools are lumpy or hard, that’s also a sign that you’re constipation. You shouldn’t have to strain to have a bowel movement under normal conditions. If you’re doing so, you are constipated.
The symptoms of constipation are enough to cramp your holiday fun or make you uncomfortable on a trip for work.
In the short-term, constipation can cause…
- Abdominal pain
- Loss of appetite
Straining to go can also cause hemorrhoids. Yikes!
You don’t want to spend your trip feeling embarrassed and awkward. So, what can you do to prevent constipation when travelling?
How to Prevent Constipation When Travelling
1. Normalize Your Diet
If possible, stay in accommodations with cooking facilities. You can easily rent an apartment anywhere in the world, for the price of a hotel room, via Airbnb.com.
Before your trip, look into whether local grocery stores deliver. Place an order of healthy, whole foods to arrive when you do. You’ll be less tempted to get fast food if you’ve already made the investment.
When in transit, munch on raw seeds, fresh fruit, and vegetables.
2. Pack a Water Bottle
Invest in a water bottle with a built-in filter. That way, you can fill up at any tap, no matter how refined your palate.
If you need to, track your water intake.
3. Practice Stress Management
There are countless apps for meditation on the go, but if that’s not your thing, create a playlist of songs that really help you unwind. Make the screensaver on your phone a quote or reminder to breathe, and let go when frustration mounts.
4. Adopt a Flexible Workout Routine
Guided classes are great, but people who rely on group exercise may be at a loss when they can’t sign-up with their favourite instructor. Whether it’s running, walking, yoga, or calisthenics, get comfortable with a form of exercise you can do anywhere. Better yet, fall in love with one activity that works well outdoors, and one for terrible weather (which hopefully never happens on your vacation).
5. Just Go!
Don’t suppress the urge to go if you can help it. Remember, the perils of public restrooms are likely less severe than those of constipation. Keep up a trusting relationship with your bowels to avoid constipation when travelling.
6. Pack Natural Calm to Prevent Constipation When Travelling
Natural Calm is a natural, gentle laxative. It draws water in the bowels to promote regularity. Plus, magnesium calms the nerves and is good for digestion in general.
To make travel easier, Natural Calm comes in convenient sample packs. Each pack is a single serving.
Most hotel rooms have an electric kettle, and that’s all you need to make Natural Calm the right way. A smidge of hot water dissolves the magnesium and converts it to ionic magnesium citrate, a highly absorbable form.
You can also add Natural Calm to your bottle of water and sip it cool. Just wait until it has completely dissolved and the water is clear, for best results.
To make a cup of Natural Calm on the road, request a cup of hot water and a spoon from the drive-through window of Tim Horton’s, or from your airline steward. It’s that easy.
Your normal dose of Natural Calm should suffice to keep things moving, but on the road, you may need to up your intake – within reason. You’ll know you’ve reached your personal sweet spot when things are comfortably loose.