When you’re traveling, constipation is the last thing you want to think about. There are things to do and places to see! Yet, many aspects of traveling can cause tummy trouble, and traveler’s constipation is just one possibility. Diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, and dyspepsia might also develop. Unsurprisingly, the risk increases when you travel abroad.
If you have constipation, you’ll have fewer bowel movements than usual. When you do pass stool, it’ll feel painful or uncomfortable. Stomach pain and bloating are also common.1 2 These symptoms don’t necessarily mean you’re sick, so don’t fret. But why do you suffer from tummy problems when traveling?
Why Can’t You Poop When Traveling?
1. Unfamiliar Bathrooms Can Cause Traveler’s Constipation
Whether you’re at a hotel or rest stop, it’s common to feel uncomfortable in a new bathroom. The same goes if you’re in someone else’s house. This makes it easy to subconsciously hold it in.
2. Different Eating Habits Can Cause Traveler’s Constipation
Trying new foods is one of the best parts of traveling. Sadly, it’s also a big reason for stomach problems. When you’re on the road, you might eat less fiber than usual. This nutrient bulks up the stool and prevents constipation.3 However, finding fiber-rich foods like fresh fruits and vegetables can be tricky when traveling.
3. Dehydration Can Cause Traveler’s Constipation
While traveling, you might also drink less water. It’s common to forget when there’s so much to do. But if you become dehydrated, you’ll have a greater risk of feeling constipated.4
4. Ignoring Your Body Can Cause Traveler’s Constipation
Poop has a way of getting your attention. But if you ignore the urge, the feeling might completely go away. It’s the perfect setup for constipation.5
5. New Routines Can Cause Traveler’s Constipation
The slightest change in your daily routine can throw your body for a loop. Traveling is basically one big change! For example, exploring a new city calls for busy, day-long activities. This can be anything from bus tours to museum visits. Plus, you might not even know where to find a bathroom when the urge hits.6
How To Prevent Constipation
If you’re prone to traveler’s constipation, don’t ditch your next trip. It’s possible to travel without dealing feeling constipated. Here’s how:
1. Eat Good-Quality Food
Eat fresh fruits and vegetables whenever you can. Pack travel-friendly snacks like apples, bananas, and grapes. When eating out, try to order a side salad. High-fiber snacks include prunes, raisins, bran cereal, and homemade oatmeal bars.
2. Keep Yourself Hydrated
Drink a lot of water. Pack a reusable water bottle and fill it often. If you’re worried about water quality, buy bottled water.
3. Drink Less Caffeine
Limit your coffee intake. The high caffeine content can cause constipation via dehydration. Instead, drink green or herbal tea. Ginger and peppermint teas are perfect for digestive issues.
4. Keep Up With Your Habits
To stimulate your intestines, poop whenever you have access to a bathroom. Take time to relax. Traveling can be stressful, but constant anxiety won’t help your digestive system.
5. Exercise As Much As Possible
If your trip doesn’t involve a lot of moving, make time for short walks. Even a 15-minute stroll will help. Remember, physical activity will literally get you moving.
Use laxatives with care. Talk to your doctor first, and consider taking them when you know you’ll be near a bathroom. Otherwise, the tips on this list will help you beat traveler’s constipation.
|↑1||Symptoms & Causes of Constipation. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.|
|↑2||Tuteja, Ashok K., Nicholas J. Talley, Stephanie S. Gelman, Stephen C. Adler, Clinton Thompson, Keith Tolman, and DeVon C. Hale. “Development of functional diarrhea, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, and dyspepsia during and after traveling outside the USA.” Digestive diseases and sciences 53, no. 1 (2008): 271-276.|
|↑3||Fiber. Harvard T.H. Chan, School of Public Health.|
|↑4||Constipation. MedlinePlus. U.S. National Library of Medicine.|
|↑5||Symptoms & Causes of Constipation. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.|
|↑6||Symptoms & Causes of Constipation. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.|