How to Ease IBS-C Naturally While on Vacation
Traveling with IBS can be difficult. If you experience constipation predominant IBS (IBS-C) is may not be as potentially scary as diarrhea predominant IBS, but it can still be a pain in the you know what!
A holiday or vacation may seem exciting and relaxing, but your daily routine, including your toilet routine, will be disrupted. Whether you are traveling across time zones, or just staying somewhere unfamiliar, any situation that takes you out of your comfort zone may result in unpleasant symptoms. Using public toilets or toilets with a lack of privacy may also cause you hold on and prevent bowel movements.
If you decide to go a little crazy at the breakfast buffet, order one too many cocktails and laze around by the pool all day, you may find that this actually helps your IBS symptoms because you are relaxing and letting go of stress, but if you find that all of the changes are blocking you up, then these tips may help:
Eat more fiber
Snacks are are a great way to get more fiber into your day when traveling. This will help move everything along in your gut instead of getting stuck. Find a supermarket or a grocer and stock up on these low FODMAP, high fiber foods that are preparation free so you can eat them right away:
- Fruit - bananas, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, kiwi fruit, oranges, mandarins, passion fruit
- Nuts and seeds – almonds (10 nuts per serve), pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, macadamias, walnuts or pecans (10 nut halves per serve)
- Vegetables – carrots, cucumber, bell peppers
Drink more water
Flying, drinking alcohol, tea or coffee can lead to dehydration if your water intake is low. Plus if you are eating more fiber, make sure you are drinking water throughout the day, up to 2 liters / 1/2 a gallon per day. Fiber without water can actually cause constipation as it needs water to help it expand and move through the body.
You don’t have to do anything too strenuous if your vacation is about relaxation, but a 30 minute walk each day will help keep things moving. This is a great option if you are sightseeing. If you are delayed at an airport, take a long walk or do laps around the terminal and you'll clock up the 30 minutes easily.
If you happen to be in a country with squat toilets, don’t shy away from them, use them! Squatting relaxes the pelvic floor muscles and helps to release stools. If you are using a regular toilet, prop your feet up on something (a low stool, books, or a box if available) and lean the top half of your body forward towards your thighs. This will put the muscles in the right position for easy evacuation.
Go when you need to go
If you are in a less than private situation and need to go, then go. Who cares what people think and you'll probably never see these people again anyway! Everybody poops and it's better that you go instead of holding it in and becoming uncomfortable. Carry a pack of tissues with you in case there is no toilet paper and then spray a little deodorant or perfume if you’re worried about the whiff factor.
This may be hard to do if you’re missing flights, can’t get a cab, or you've lost your wallet or any other travel misfortunes that might come your way, but remember that you’re on vacation. Laugh, take a photo, and think about all the stories you'll have to tell when you get back home.
Always remember that we can all learn to live with IBS, it's just a matter of finding ways to manage it and hopefully these tips will help you relax a little more and enjoy your vacation.
Do you avoid using seasonings or spices on your food?