Constipation – characterised by infrequent bowel movements – can be uncomfortable enough at the best of times, let alone when you’re on holiday. Find out more about the causes, tests and treatments in our constipation information pages.
Travel constipation is not uncommon, but there are things you can do to help. Here are 5 tips for avoiding holiday constipation:
1 Find out if there’s an underlying cause
Constipation is a symptom, rather than a condition itself, and if you frequently suffer with constipation or it’s been going on longer than a few weeks, it’s a good idea to see a doctor. Not only will they be able to rule out whether there’s potentially anything serious going on, but figuring out what’s causing your constipation is the first step towards managing it effectively. Often, constipation is associated with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), and there’s lots that can help manage IBS.
2 Try to stick to regular mealtimes
For anybody with a sensitive digestive system, eating at regular mealtimes can be very helpful. This can be tricky when you’re travelling, particularly if you’re flying long-haul and planning lots of excursions and days out sightseeing. But do try to stick to the set mealtimes you’re used to, as skipping or delaying meals could trigger constipation.
3 Eat plenty of fibre and whole grains
There’s no reason why you can’t try to enjoy the local cuisine, but wherever you go on holiday, make sure you still eat plenty of fibre. This means fresh fruit and vegetables, along with reasonable amounts of pulses, beans and whole grains (like wholemeal bread, brown rice, oatcakes). Avoid too much white bread and red meat, which may make constipation worse. If you’re travelling somewhere where food choices are going to be restricted or difficult for you and you’re worried about constipation, pack some soluble fibre sachets to help keep things regular.
4 Keep well hydrated
Good hydration is essential for a healthy digestive system. Remember, if you’re going to a hot country, you will need to drink a bit more water than usual. Carry a water bottle with you at all times, so you can sip throughout the day. Alcohol can be very dehydrating, so if you’re keen to enjoy the local wine and beer, make sure you keep that water glass topped up too.
5 Keep active
When we’re sluggish, our guts become sluggish too. Try to avoid being too sedentary on holiday: Get up to stretch and move around during your flight, take lots of walks and make the most of that hotel pool. If you wake up constipated, a coffee and a stroll and quick stretch could help get things in motion.
If constipation is affecting your life, book a private consultation with one of our specialists. Simply call us on 020 7183 7965 or complete the contact form below.