It’s been eight days since we arrived in Auckland and I think I had only pooped thrice! Yep, my worst traveling nightmare came true and this disorder has never once left me alone whenever I travel – near or far!
I have taken everything that is supposed to beat constipation but nothing seems to help. My diet here has been pretty high in fiber. I start off my day with psyllium husk, followed by smoothie made from a combo of fresh berries, orange, green apple, celery or parsley, avocado and baby spinach. Then I have a slice of high fiber bread and more fruits. But still I am badly constipated and darn bloated! I have been taking Forlax – the laxative that Cass has been taking and it only helps me evacuate the following day. And the next day will be another day of bloating and constipation again.
I admit that I have not been drinking as much of plain water that I normally do when I am in KL, for fear of using toilets when we are traveling. And to top it up, I think I have a sluggish bladder ever since Cass was born. I have had three C-sections and I developed incontinence after the birth of Cass. Thank God it was only for 2 days.
Traveler’s constipation—a most unwelcome side effect of any getaway, courtesy of travel-induced changes to your diet, weird timing of your meals, and limited access to restrooms. Here’s how to prevent this uncomfortable disorder.
Take your probiotics
Start popping probiotic supplements a few days before send-off. These healthy bacteria, found in foods like yogurt or kefir, can help reduce gas and bloating, issues that usually crop up because you consume less fiber and exercise less on holiday than you do at home. Your best bet may be probiotic capsules, which can have up to 10 times more probiotics than fortified foods.
Chew these before takeoff
Swallow some activated charcoal tablets before flying the friendly skies to help absorb gas, suggests gastroenterologist Patricia Raymond, MD. All that gum chewing and candy sucking you do to pop your ears could cause “jet bloat,” she says. The higher the altitude, the more the gas in your body expands.
Pack your own food
You know nothing backs you up more than a greasy (and admittedly delicious) truck stop snack, but the discomfort it will cause you later simply isn’t worth it. Whenever possible, pack a whole-wheat sandwich, a bag of trail mix, and easily portable (and fiber-filled!) fruits like apples and bananas.
When you arrive, drink plenty of water and consume at least 25 grams of fiber on a daily basis to keep things running smoothly. (Check out these easy ways to get more fiber.)
Take advantage of the hotel breakfast
“Eating stimulates the reflex that causes stuff to move forward in the gut,“ says Joanne A.P. Wilson, MD, a gastroenterologist and professor of medicine at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, NC. And when nothing moves, you won’t go. Give your system the kick it needs early with breakfast, even if you eat it on the beach.
Beware of laxatives
If you need to get things moving but don’t want a laxative-induced accident far from home, bring along milk of magnesia or prune juice, or sip on hot tea for a gentle, safe way to give your system a kick.
Make it an active trip
Experts agree that when you’re active, so are your bowels. Try that tandem bike, hit the slopes, or even walk along the beach in the morning—just be sure to drink plenty of water while doing it.
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