• Tips for Traveling With IBS

    on Jun 18th, 2018

If you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, you’re not alone. With up to 15% of Americans living with symptoms like gas, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation, IBS is the most common digestive disorder.

IBS symptoms can be particularly distressing when you’re traveling. Instead of enjoying a visit to see relatives or experiencing the excitement of different cultures, many IBS patients find themselves gripped with anxiety over a potential IBS flare. Before heading off on your trip, check out these tips to make your travel more enjoyable.

Pack a survival kit

Despite your best efforts to plan ahead, reduce stress, and avoid other triggers, IBS can strike when you least expect it. Preparation is the best weapon in case you get hit with IBS symptoms while on the road. Taking along a survival kit with items to help you get through any IBS emergencies is a smart idea. Some helpful items to pack in your survival kit include:

All of these items are conveniently available over the counter, and you can create a travel-size emergency kit so that you’re prepared if symptoms such as pain, cramping, diarrhea, or constipation strike.

Take IBS-friendly snacks

Most patients with IBS can minimize their symptoms through dietary changes. While you may find it easier to manage your IBS at home, where you have access to nutritious foods that won’t trigger symptoms, that isn’t necessarily the case while you’re traveling. In fact, sticking to an IBS-friendly meal plan is one of the most stressful aspects of traveling for many patients.

The last thing you want is to find yourself in a situation where you have to eat something that may not agree with you and trigger an onslaught of IBS symptoms. The best way to avoid this scenario is to pack IBS-friendly foods that store well and don’t require refrigeration. Here are some ideas:

While these IBS-friendly foods work well for many patients, the snacks you take along will depend on your unique dietary needs. Consider the diet that works for you at home and brainstorm ways to make a travel-friendly version to take along with you.

Keep stress at bay

A large percentage of IBS patients report stress as a trigger for their symptoms. If you’re planning a leisurely trip, take measures to limit stress. Even relaxing vacations can bring stress when plans go awry, or you’re in an unfamiliar environment.

If you’re going on a work trip, it’s helpful to organize and delegate so that you don’t get overwhelmed. Make time for relaxing activities like a massage. This will help balance out your work trip to help stave off stress.

Stick to a routine

It can be difficult to stick to your normal routine while traveling but doing so can help prevent an IBS flare. While traveling can bring a sense of adventure, you’ll want to keep some things consistent. If you typically avoid spicy food, continue to do so while traveling. You may want to try new foods, but you may regret it if your symptoms flare up. Additionally, try to continue any rituals that ease your symptoms, such as drinking chamomile tea after meals.

Irritable bowel syndrome doesn’t have to limit your ability to travel. If you need assistance managing your condition, the team at Rose City Urgent Care & Family Practice is here to help. Call the office nearest you to schedule an appointment with one of our providers or book online at your convenience.

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