Traveler’s Constipation: Is It Real?

Traveling is new feelings, new emotions, loads of photos, and good memories. However, those who travel a lot probably have noticed that when they are in another country, they have some health issues. You should know about potential health risks to avoid them while you are traveling.

The most common traveling problems are acclimatization and jetlag, tropical infections and diarrhea or allergies. But there is a more delicate thing as constipation. And it seems that traveler’s constipation is a real phenomenon. What should you do in this case?

What is traveler’s constipation?

Of course, traveler’s constipation is not so common as acclimatization or jetlag but 15% of tourists suffer this delicate problem. More than that, they may still have constipation when they are at home in their usual atmosphere.

Interestingly, traveler’s constipation does not necessarily occur when people travel to other countries and continents, but also while hiking, for example.

This is quite a unique phenomenon associated with changing environment and the style of life. Let’s discuss the main causes of constipation.

Long trips

Constipation during long trips or flights typically occurs as a result of changes in biological rhythms.

It means that if you used to do things in the morning, in a new place morning will start at a different time (when it is night in your place) and your body clocks get out of sync.

It is believed travelers feel better when they fly from the east to the west and you do not have to take additional measures to relieve constipation because your body will be back to normal in 2-3 days.

Dehydration is another common problem for travelers during long trips. Bad eating habits, sitting or lying for long periods may also have a negative impact on your health.

All these factors may be responsible for constipation. To get rid of this problem, you need to change your daily routine and in some cases, medications are required. Experienced travelers never forget to take gentle laxatives.

Not drinking enough water

One major point when people travel is toilet. It is not very convenient to go to restrooms and travelers prefer to avoid drinking too much. In hot weather, our body loses much water and if you do not drink enough and there is a water deficit in the intestine.

The struggle with a toilet is so real for many travelers that they prefer to avoid drinking in order not to look for the toilet in an unknown place. This has a negative impact on defecation. Water is critical for your digestion and if there is a lack of water in the body, fecal masses harden and consequently, it leads to constipation.

Decreased motility

For the active bowel movement and  fecal disimpaction, we need to move, walk, bend, do squats etc. Sitting for long periods or static positions weaken the bowel movement.

When traveling, we do not have many chances to move even we travel by car. Of course, it does not help our bowel movement and fecal masses can become dry and hard and lodge in the colon.

Train journeys that last for several days make our bowels suffer even more. A low-fiber diet only aggravates the problem. So when you are going to travel by train, take enough fruits and vegetables otherwise, you risk to develop a lazy bowel syndrome and experience serious problems with digestion. 

Make you sure you are active enough when traveling but do not overdo. Try not to lie on the beach all day long. Active life – no constipation. Walk, swim, ride a bike – these are all good entertainments and physical exercises. 

Changed eating habits

New food is one of the main causes of constipation. While on the road, travelers typically eat fast food, snacks and do not drink enough water. These all lead to digestive issues. 

When travelers arrive at the destination, they eat local or exotic food. Changed eating habits may cause allergies or constipation. The most common foods that can cause constipation are meat, high-carb food, cabbage, fat, and fried food. The problem is aggravated if you do not eat enough fruits and vegetables. Consider your eating habits if you do not want to spoil your holidays.

Psychosomatic issues

We spend a big chunk of our time in a toilet and we really care about its convenience and hygiene. A public toilet is definitely not the place where we can relax and feel comfortable. This may be also the cause of constipation.

When there is no toilet nearby or it is so dirty that we need a protection suit to enter it, we suppress our urge to defecate which later causes constipation. 

The human digestive system runs like clockwork and it is not well adapted to new conditions. Even the slightest changes may negatively affect digestion and cause problems.