How To Prevent Troublesome Traveller’s Diarrhea
For someone who has IBS, traveling can be a worrying thing. Yes, I want to see the world, but no, I do not want my trip ruined by a flare-up. The problem is, many of the things we’re supposed to enjoy when we’re moving around the world, e.g., eating local foods, can actually be the flare-up culprit.
The good news is, there are several things you can do to help avoid either an IBS flare up on the road or a general bout of good old traveller’s diarrhea.
Preparation is essential, and planning also helps avoid rather embarrassing and upsetting episodes. Let’s face it, a bout of diarrhoea is no fun even when you’re at home, but when you’re in unknown surroundings, you’re not sure of where the bathrooms are, and toilet hygiene is questionable at best, you’re looking at a situation which could damage your travel experience and leave a rather nasty memory in your mind.
So, how can you avoid traveller’s diarrhea, whether you’re prone to IBS or not?
Be Cautious Of Unknown Foods
Yes, we’re supposed to be adventurous and try the local cuisine, but if you’re someone who has had a sensitive stomach in the past when it comes to spicy dishes, it’s not a great idea to go gung-ho and try the hottest choice on the menu.
Stick to foods which you know you can handle, and if you need to ask questions about any of the ingredients, go for it. Don’t be embarrassed, just make it sound as though you’re simply curious about their local produce, and the waiter will no doubt chat away, giving you the information you need.
Be a Little Wary of Street Food
Street food is excellent, easy, and cheap but always be careful with which vendor you choose. Only ever eat food which is cooked in front of you and served very hot. Make sure that any fruits have been washed in bottled or boiled water and the same for any vegetables. Only ever go for fruits you can peel yourself too. In terms of dairy products, make sure they are pasteurized.
There are many nightmare stories about street food, and while some will tell you to avoid it altogether, it can be difficult and detrimental in certain parts of the world to do so, e.g., Thailand, where street food is a rite of passage. Make sure that any meats you eat are cooked well, and don’t go for anything ‘rare’ regarding cooking.
Only Ever Drink Bottled Water
They might tell you it’s safe to drink the water, but don’t risk it. A bottle of water is cheap enough, so only stick to sealed bottled and be careful that ice is also made from the bottled version too. Do the same when asking for any fizzy drinks, e.g., cola too – make sure they come in a sealed can.
Travelan is a dietary supplement that can help to stop traveler’s diarrhea before it even arrives. This means your travel isn’t ruined and you’ll feel more confident in trying different foods.
If you have IBS, this is a real stress-reliever in itself, and it’s got proof to back it up too – with clinical studies showing over 90% protection against E. coli, the most common cause of traveller’s diarrhea. Recent US Department of Defense research studies have also shown cross-reactivity to the nasty Campylobacter, and Shigella bacteria. That basically gives you a large dose of protection and also peace of mind. You don’t need a prescription for Travelan, and you can easily buy it over the counter from pharmacies in Australia, and from Passport Health Clinics or online in the USA. It’s cheap too at around $30 a packet which contains 30 caplets, enough to cover a ten-day trip for one-person.
The idea is that you take one capsule before every meal and it sits there waiting for anything nasty to come its way and then bam! The problem is taken care of before it has a chance to take hold.
Try And Relieve Stress
If you’re a panicky flyer, or you worry a lot when traveling around, try your best to practice stress management techniques, e.g., breathing techniques and distraction. Stress is a massive problem for anyone with IBS because it’s the number one trigger for a flare-up. The calmer you can be, the less likely you’re going to notice problems.
Talk to your doctor if you’re a very nervous flyer, as there are certain medications and techniques which can be prescribed to calm you down and make the entire trip more pleasant and bearable. This will have the side effect of helping with your IBS situation.
If you have a sensitive stomach and regularly notice diarrhea bouts coming your way, how about trying a probiotic or upping the amount of probiotic content in your diet naturally? You can easily incorporate probiotic-rich foods into your day, and if you struggle with that, there are supplements you can take, some of which are in the form of a yogurt-style drink.
Traveller’s diarrhea has been something enshrined in traveling life for as long as we can remember, but that doesn’t mean it has to feature in your trip. Be aware of how to prevent bouts, and you can look forward to an event-free trip, at least as far as your stomach is concerned!