Travel and constipation
A change of routine, such as being on holiday with a different diet and time zone, and using facilities in public places, can affect your bowel habits.8
This can make travelling a challenge when you’re constipated. But there are many things you can do to help keep you comfortable.
Drink plenty of water.
Not drinking enough fluids can make constipation worse, so make sure you have plenty of clear liquids to drink.9 It’s best to avoid alcohol and caffeinated drinks (such as coke or coffee) as these can dehydrate you.1
Fill up on fiber-rich snacks.
Eating healthily can be tricky when you’re on-the-go, as it’s easy to reach for low-fiber convenience food. This can make constipation worse.1 Instead, try to carry high-fiber snacks with you such as dried fruit, cereal bars, popcorn, and unsalted nuts. Choose healthy meals with plenty of fresh vegetables when possible.
Try to stay active.
If you have a long journey by plane, train or car, make sure you set time aside to get up, stretch and have a walk around. This can help to keep your digestive system moving.9
Try and stick to a routine.
Where possible, try and stick to your usual meal and sleep times. Eating soon after you wake up can also be beneficial.10 If you usually use the toilet at a certain time of day, try and stick to that too. 30 minutes after a meal is usually a good time.8
Listen to your body.
Don’t ignore your body’s signals, as this can make constipation worse.1 Try to make sure you always know where the nearest toilets are so you can go over there if you need to.
If you’ve had problems with constipation while travelling before, or if you’re already experiencing constipation, it might help to start taking medication ahead of time.
1. NHS Inform. Constipation. Preventing constipation. https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/stomach-liver-and-gastrointestinal-tract/constipation#preventing-constipation. Accessed 12 Nov 2019.
8. Healthy bowel guide: Information for patients. Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust. April 2015. https://www.cnwl.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/Healthy_Bowel-_Patient_Information_leaflet.pdf Accessed 12 Nov 2019.
9. Arnaud MJ. Mild dehydration: a risk factor of constipation? Eur J Clin Nutr. 2003;57(2):S88-S95.
10. Hayat U, et al. Chronic constipation: Update on management. Clev Clin J Med. 2017;84(5):397-408