Why do we get constipation when we travel?

By plane, car or train, constipation can occur during our stay. If this risk is less known than diarrhea, it nevertheless has a significant impact on comfort. How to travel without being constipated? We answer you.

Dr. Charlotte Tourmente

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Why do we get constipation when we travel?

Constipation is a common symptom when traveling. According to a 2003 study, nearly half of participants reported a “bowel change” such as a change in diet or timing of bowel movements. 38% complained of being constipated. The number of daily bowel movements had dropped by almost a third. We asked Dr. Raynaud, gastroenterologist, about to explain to us this phenomenon.

Jet lag and changing habits

The two most important factors that explain constipation while traveling are jet lag and a long flight time., explains Dr. Raynaud, gastroenterologist. “We do not move, we do not have easy access to the toilets and we hold back, thus blocking transit. We drink a little, which increases dehydration and thus constipation. ”

According to the specialist,
the train journey is less congested because one moves more, the duration is often shorter and the drinks more accessible. The car is the transport that obstructs the least due to regular breaks. The change in diet promotes constipation, especially in a country where the tourist is common.

“To avoid tourists, it is advisable to drink only bottled water and not eat raw fruits and vegetables”, details Dr. Raynaud. “We therefore moisten less, which clogs.
In addition, the medicine that we give to the tourist blocks the transit, which can promote constipation, ”he explains.

Jet lag also disrupts the rhythm of the human body. “The body has its own rhythm, and as soon as you change something, it disrupts the transit“, confirms the gastroenterologist. Stress can also increase all digestive symptoms, but it does not have the great impact on constipation.

Also read: Can rice cause constipation?

How to reduce the risk of constipation?

The most important thing is to have adequate hydration, to eat fruits and vegetables, to consume them cooked or well washed. “, recommends Dr. Raynaud. “Above all, respect your usual rhythm of life as much as possible: When you want to go to the toilet, go. But it is not always possible when traveling. ”

Magnesium-enriched water promotes transit, as does the consumption of green vegetables and whole grains, rich in fiber.

Physical activity is also often recommended to stimulate transit.

What drugs to treat constipation?

“We can recommend a laxative on the way back, but not during the trip to avoid the risk of diarrheasays Dr. Raynaud. Constipation is frequent, but it is less limiting than diarrhea ! You can wait a few days to process it.. ”

The laxatives recommended when returning from a trip are stimulating laxatives, which are very effective and fast. Their use must be very specific because they are irritating to the intestines.

If constipation is to be treated during the journey, always start with mild laxatives, and if that is not enough, move on to a stronger laxativecontinues the gastroenterologist. If you want stool and it does not come out, we recommend a laxative such as paraffin oil or PEG in small doses so as not to cause diarrhea.

On the other hand, psyllum, an herbal laxative recommended for chronic constipation, is not indicated for acute constipation because it takes time to act.

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