February 14, 2024

Travel Constipation - Causes and Remedies

travel constipation

Constipation is an often-experienced side effect of travel, whether that means visiting friends or crossing an ocean. Constipation occurs when your normal diet and schedule are disrupted during travel - anything from changes in sleep, food or movement habits could prompt constipation symptoms.

Dr. Erin Toto, a gastroenterologist with Penn Medicine, notes that diet changes are one of the primary culprits. Consuming processed and fast foods while on vacation can lower fiber intake and cause constipation; sitting still for long periods - such as on an airplane or train ride - may also interfere with muscle contractions, leading to hard, dry stools which may prove challenging to pass.

Establishing a regular diet can help alleviate this issue. Select high-fiber foods like vegetables and fruit; beans; whole grain cereals; and nuts as part of a balanced meal. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids; avoid caffeine and alcohol that dehydrate, and strive to have meals and snacks at similar times each day as when at home.

Occasional constipation can often be alleviated using over-the-counter laxatives and stool softeners, but always consult your physician first before using any. Be sure to take them with water, and don't exceed what's recommended by your physician. For best results, begin taking these products a few days prior to traveling; on your trip make sure you drink at least half your body weight in ounces each day and eat plenty of high fiber foods.

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