A lot of us can relate to finding it difficult to poop when we travel or embark on a vacation to somewhere new, which makes us wonder if we are healthy. It turns out that Vacation-induced constipation (VIC) is a real thing.
You’re a regular once-a-day pooper and yet every time you travel away from home for an extended period of time, you find yourself unable to poop.
One day passes, then two, then three, then four. Instead of enjoying the comforts of your new environment, you begin to worry whether something is wrong with your bowels or not.
If you find this scenario familiar, you might be one of the many people who struggle to poop when they travel to a new environment. So, why does it happen and what can you do about it?
Constipation can happen for a number of reasons — and one of them is stress. There is a high level of interaction between the central nervous system, the brain, the spinal cord — and the so-called ‘small brain’ of the gut, called the enteric nervous system.
If you’re stressed about travel — the planning, the packing, the flight, there is a possibility that it could get registered in your enteric nervous system, which can affect the regularity of bowel movements, as well as cause gas, bloating, and abdominal discomfort.
Relaxation techniques such as engaging in yoga and mindfulness can help.
Food And Drinks
Furthermore, VIC can also happen because you’re eating and drinking differently on vacation. Fiber intake can be important for being regular and good stool consistency, and that can change when you are travelling.
A lack of fluids could also be affecting your poop schedule because you could alter your consumption of alcohol and caffeine, as a way of dealing with the time changes associated with travel across time zones. Such beverages can be dehydrating and can also affect the regularity of bowel movements.
If you’re worried about constipation, eat fiber-rich foods, drink plenty of water, and try to limit your alcohol and caffeine intake.
Jet lag seriously impacts your sleep cycle. Sleep, or lack of it can affect your health in a number of ways. When you’re getting enough of it, it helps keep you more regular and decreases a lot of gastrointestinal symptoms and complaints.
When you travel however, the resulting changes to your body’s clock which is known as your circadian rhythm can have a huge effect on your ability to poop on schedule.
Be sure you get an adequate amount of sleep prior to travelling and not just during the trip. When you arrive arrived at your destination, try to adjust to the local time as quickly as you can. Some people opt to use sleep aids, but it is best you consult your doctor before making that decision.
Others find that stool softeners and gentle laxatives can be helpful, especially in those first few days when you’re getting adjusted to your new environment. In all however, try your best to maintain your general lifestyle routines, including keeping up with your regular exercise regimen.
Constipation is nothing to be embarrassed about, since it is treatable. It can have a serious improvement in your quality of life and is not only restricted to when you travel only.