Tips for Traveling with IBSHolly Case, Freelance Writer and Mom of Three Boys
Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, can be uncomfortable. Most people with IBS find ways to live with it at home. But traveling causes significant changes to your routine and eating habits. A flare-up of IBS while traveling could be a major bummer. Try these tips to travel in comfort and peace.
Get in the Right Frame of Mind
Stress and anxiety are triggers for IBS flare-ups. That’s why you want to avoid getting too worked up about traveling. Spend a few minutes each day before your trip managing your stress. Try meditation, yoga, journaling—or all the above. Don’t expect the worst, especially because it’s not likely to be anywhere near as bad as you think.
Ask Your Doctor about Medications
Before leaving for your trip, ask your doctor about medications you can take if you experience a return of IBS symptoms. Many over-the-counter medicines can help manage IBS symptoms like diarrhea and constipation. You may not even need them, but knowing they’re an option can give you peace of mind.
One of the biggest pitfalls for traveling when you have IBS is that it takes more caution to eat well. We may be traveling to an area where it’s harder to get familiar, healthy foods. Pack some healthy snacks in your suitcase, like trail mix, nuts, or gluten-free granola bars, so you’ll always have good choices at hand. Make efforts to stay well hydrated, too.
Be Honest with Your Travel Companions
Don’t try to hide your health issues from your traveling companions. You don’t need to go into graphic detail. But it’s appropriate to tell them you have a digestive disorder that may require you to spend more time in the bathroom and be more careful about food choices.
Try to Maintain a Normal Schedule
Managing IBS is all about following predictable schedules, which can be more challenging while traveling. Try to eat at regular intervals to whatever extent you’re able. Get regular rest and avoid late nights. The closer you stick to your regular schedule, the less disrupted your system will be from traveling.
Get Some Exercise
Sitting for long periods in cars or on airplanes can really mess up your system. Gentle regular exercise is important for making sure your digestive system works properly, so make time for a walk each day. Have fun and make it part of your sightseeing.