TMJ Center of Los Angeles

Staying Regular as You Travel

Nothing ruins a good vacation faster than the digestive system problems that can arise from falling into bad eating habits, eating unfamiliar items, and in some cases, exposure to suspect water.

People often underestimate the importance of eating habits in correlation to healthy and regular bowel movements. A simple change in what you eat or drink can have huge implications on your digestive system. For some, even a change in the bathroom they use can cause problems.

So while you still want to have fun when traveling, here are a few tips from the Beverly Hills Center for Digestive Health to make sure your indigestion doesn’t get in the way.

Drink plenty of water: One of the primary causes of constipation is dehydration, so just like when you’re back home, you should be drinking plenty of water and other clear fluids to keep you hydrated. Additionally, try to avoid drinking too many caffeinated or alcoholic beverages as they will do the opposite. While this may not completely relieve constipation, it’s a good starting point, and it will at least soften stools so that they’re easier to pass.

Eat your fiber: Make sure you’re paying attention to your diet by eating high-fiber foods. These include, but are not limited to, whole grains, fresh veggies, dried or fresh fruit, and beans. Just because you may be on vacation, don’t forget your recommended intakes are 2.5 cups of vegetables and 2 cups of fruit every day. If you find those items difficult to come by, try carrying snacks like dried fruits, seeds, or granola bars that can help you supplement your fiber levels throughout the day.

Don’t binge on the bad stuff: You should relax on vacation, but don’t let your time off get ruined by the after effects that can come from incessant binging on junk food. Candy, cheese, pizza, processed foods, and other such items are fine in moderation, but they can all make your constipation worse. So when making your eating decisions, plan accordingly.

Stay physically active: If your body stays moving your digestive system stays moving. Set a time to get up and stretch if you’re stuck on a bus, plane, or train for a long leg of a trip. If possible, see the sights on foot or bicycle. It will not only lead to a more immersive travel experience but also keep your digestive system moving correctly. However, do try to sit down and enjoy yourself when you have a meal. Eating on the run can cause constipation.

Get your sleep: Just because you’re in a different city, country, or even continent, doesn’t mean you no longer need your sleep. Throwing off your circadian rhythm can negatively affect your bowel movements as well.

Go when you have to go: For many people, even the routine of where they are going to the bathroom helps smooth their digestion and stay regular. But when you’re traveling, having that level of familiarity is impossible. Just because you’re near a public restroom or would have to interrupt your sightseeing, doesn’t mean you should put off going when your body starts giving you the signs. Doing so could lead to worse constipation or more serious issues down the road.

Keep a schedule: Similar to above, you’re used to a regular bathroom schedule, so try your best to stick to it while you’re on vacation. Many times you simply forget or get caught up in the moment while traveling, but putting off your business will only exacerbate your problems.

Only use laxatives in moderation: If diet, exercise, and keeping a routine don’t help your constipation, you can look towards a laxative for help. But be smart and only use them for a short time. You don’t want to become dependent on them.
Relax and have fun on your vacation, but abiding by these tips from the Beverly Hills Center for Digestive Health can help you stay regular and maximize your time spent enjoying your vacation.

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