6 Tips for Traveling with IBS

6 Tips for Traveling with IBS

An estimated 25-40 million Americans are living with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and 60% of those regularly experience moderate-to-severe symptoms, including bloating, nausea, gas, and bouts of constipation and diarrhea.

It’s challenging enough managing IBS symptoms in a familiar setting, but throw busy airports, delayed flights, jetlag, hotel food and an interruption to your normal habits into the mix and it can create a recipe for disaster. Before your next trip, check out our expert tips on how to manage your IBS when traveling.

Mimic your normal routine

Once you’ve developed an IBS management regimen that keeps your symptoms in check, deviating too far from it can send you reeling into an episode of uncomfortable symptoms. To avoid this, try to mimic your routine while away. This means eating at the same times as you normally would and going to bed at a similar time.

Continue any rituals you may have established, such as drinking chamomile tea after a meal or waiting until you’ve had breakfast before enjoying a cup of coffee. Mapping out and sticking to a similar routine can go a long way in keeping IBS symptoms in check when traveling.

Take an IBS survival kit

People with IBS say there’s nothing worse than being in an unfamiliar setting and getting hit with cramps and other symptoms. Pack travel-size items that can get you through any situation that might arise. Here are a few things to include in your survival kit:

Whether you need to quell diarrhea or get things moving when a bout of constipation arises, preparation is key.

Snack smart

Traveling often involves some snacking to get you through to your next meal, and many on-the-go snacks aren’t exactly IBS-friendly. Pack your own snacks and choose safe ones that are unlikely to trigger symptoms, such as:

While these IBS-friendly foods work well for many people, the snacks you take along will depend on your individual dietary needs.

Say no to stress

Your digestive system and brain are intimately connected, and while psychological stress doesn’t cause IBS, it can trigger or make symptoms worse.

Since traveling is inherently stressful, it’s best to take extra care to reduce your stress while away. This could be as simple as listening to soothing music to block out noise or taking a travel pillow to rest your head on. Even a short visualization break can make a significant difference in perceived stress.

Use a restroom-finding mobile app

Many IBS patients report not knowing the location of the nearest restroom as a major source of anxiety when traveling. Luckily, technology offers a great solution. Before your trip, you might want to download a restroom-locating app on your smartphone.

These apps are able to direct you to the nearest public restroom with high precision. Should you experience sudden symptoms, you won’t have to deal with the stress and anxiety of searching for a bathroom.

Steer clear of new foods

Trying new foods and tasting local delicacies can seem appealing when you’re on a leisure trip; however, for people with IBS any new food is a potential trigger. Unless you’ve had a specific food before and are sure it hasn’t caused problems in the past, it’s best to steer clear of new dishes. You could end up with severe symptoms that put a serious damper on your vacation.

For effective gastrointestinal care and expertise, including treatment and recommendations for IBS, stop in and see Dr. Krishna Rayapudi and his team at Gastro Office in Hilliard, Ohio. Call to schedule an appointment or book online today.

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