Our digestive track is probably the most sensitive part of our bodies when we travel, which makes digestive problems one of the most frequent problems as we travel (or even at home!).
Think about it: it’s the one part of the body constantly working on assimilating every single new product, taste, bite that we fiercely want to try as we arrive into a new destination.
Normal thing. Travel is about flavours and aromas and more, right? Yes, travel is about the senses and I’m a strong believer on their power, even more within travel.
Here are some basics that will help avoid, treat and prevent some of the most common digestive problems.
What are the most common digestive disorders on the road?
Nausea & Vomiting
Colitis & Gas
How to deal with them?
Hydration is the common factor to any digestive problem.
Did you know that all the work done by the digestive requires infinite amounts of water/liquids in order to keep balance?
And guess what? This water comes mostly from our water supplies within the body. If we don’t hydrate, we won’t replace all that water and this will provoke some more suffering in different systems of the body. The longer we stay dehydrated, the more our body will suffer acute changes to keep it all working. And the faster we can go into a shock. So, yes. Hydration is always the main deal.
Drink in small sips, slowly. This prevents from having nausea and will also hydrate you properly. Liquids flowing fast into the body will tend to be rejected when feeling not so well.
Eat soft warm foods, such as boiled plain rice, chicken broth or boiled watery vegetables.
Avoid sugar of any kind in large quantities. Sugar in these cases will make a sponge-like effect on the bowel. It will absorb water from the body and into the digestive track, producing liquid feces = diarrhoea = dehydration. And so the cycle continues…
1. Anti-nausea medication
easy and simple, accesible over-the-counter. Such as Metoclopramide (Primperan, Maxolon and Plasil are some of the commercial names found worldwide).
2. Anti-reflux medication (such as Peptobismol).
3. Antiinflamatory pills
Such as Buscapine (Hyioscine), commonly used for irritable bowel syndrome or colitis. Short treatments (1 pill/8 hrs during 3 days) should help you feel better and control any inflammation caused by any digestive disorder.
4. Oral Hydration Powder
A must-have every single time as we travel or at home. Recommended whenever suffering from vomiting and diarrhoea. Ideally one litre/day. Avoid it if being constipated instead – it can make you even more constipated and this will turn into a painful experience. If constipation kicks in, drink tons of water, avoid carbs or grains, eat lots of fruits and vegetables as a source of fiber, (rather than granola bars). Fiber should be taken with lots of water. Then your bowel will be able to flush down and clean itself up.
As for heartburn, avoid spicy food! Reflux can be annoying and it can even turn into a serious emergency when the pylorus gets stressed and closes completely. Some traditional symptoms can be burping or heartburn sensation on the upper abdomen and/or along the chest.
Grandma’s Remedies (*Suitable both for kids and adults*)
Tea and other soft infusions: camomile, cinnamon, ginger.
Boiled rice with a tiny bit of sugar and salt.
Soups and soft food. Preferably warm and without herbs or spices.
Toasted bread. No butter, jam or others.
Avoid plain and abundant sweet, pastries or candies. Sugar absorbs water from the body, making the diarrhoea to worsen up.
Eat crackers. They work like magic all the time. They provide both a bit of sugar and salt which the body needs when feeling nauseous. The small amount of carb won’t be a major problem and it will keep your sugar blood levels on good balance.
Apple-anything: juice, plain apple, mashed apple like baby food. Always soft and handy.
A warm glass of milk for heartburn.
Lemon balm infusion.
Papaya fruit – good for constipation.
Club soda or any sparkling water. I know this on personal experience. Always suits my stomach so well when feeling nauseous or undigested.
Ginger – anything with it will be soothing to the stomach. Warm, boiled, in infusion, chewable, mixed with lemon and honey. Take it as you wish, it will always be awesome and healthy.
Unusual disorders and what to do?
Whether there’s any quantity of blood coming out from your mouth or your rectum, you need to attend an emergency room the soonest possible to make sure it’s nothing.
Acute abdominal pain
A kind of pain that appears suddenly or throughout the hours; can be easily located or not, can provoke nausea and deep indescribable pain. In any of these cases, after a few hours or noticing that it will just worsen up, always look for professional medical attention. Buscapine/Hyoscine pills can help for a little while, but whenever the pain keeps on evolving after taking one pill, don’t insist on waiting. Go to a doctor the soonest possible.
Always an emergency. Why? Because it usually appears as severe sudden vomiting, which can make you quickly dehydrated. Whenever someone vomits more than 4 times in 1 hour, that’s when you need to seek for medical attention.
Travelling is always a pleasure. But digestive issues can always appear on the road (even at home!). If we know the basics, we will be okay most of the times, preventing and avoiding complications.
Now you know the basics. Grab that suitcase and go to your next vacation!
Learning is easy and effective. I will continue updating this information on regular basis as I do more research and experience more. Please feel free to spread this useful information.