Is there such a thing as constipation while traveling?


Digestive distress while traveling is very much present, and the scientific evidence behind it is fascinating.

The largest study on constipation while traveling was published 40 years ago in a medical journal Schweizerische Medizinische Wochenschrift. The authors distributed a questionnaire to 10,500 tourists returning to Switzerland after a visit to the tropics. They found that 14 percent of respondents suffered from constipation due to air travel.

However, the most telling study, probably unique in the history of medicine, appeared in 2003 in the form of a modest letter to the editor in the prestigious American Journal of Gastroenterology. Spanish gastroenterologists studied 70 people who traveled to the United States from Europe for a short stay. In addition to the usual questionnaires, all subjects kept diaries of their bowel movement habits, had the consistency of their stool samples assessed in accordance with a standardized methodology, and their passage time through the colon was measured after ingestion of the radioactive tracers. Colon transit time is the time it takes for the stool to pass through the colon.

Almost 40 percent of the respondents complained of constipation during the trip.

Why do people get constipated while traveling?

Everyone has a unique bowel movement schedule, ranging from 3 bowel movements per day to 3 bowel movements per week, but the gastrointestinal tract does not handle change well.  Traveling affects scheduled bowel movements, which can lead to the discomfort of constipation.

In addition to changing schedules, there are other travel-related factors that contribute to constipation:

  • Food: People will often try new foods on vacation or eat at different times than usual.
  •  Sleep: Did you know that sleep disorders are linked to gastrointestinal diseases?  If your sleeping habits change, your gut is likely to be affected as well.
  •  Exercise: Physical activity affects gut health and digestion, changes the balance of the microbiome, and even modulates the immune system of the gastrointestinal tract.  Changing the time of exercise disturbs the functioning of the intestines.
  •  Water: If there is not enough water, waste gets stuck in the colon, making it difficult to move.  It is easy to lose fluid, i.e., to become dehydrated, when you are not at home.  Airplanes are dry, and some people traveling by road or rail drink less to avoid using public toilets.
  •  Alcohol: Vacations and business trips often involve drinking more alcohol than at home.  But alcohol can make you dehydrated and cause constipation.
  •  Stress: Just like any other kind of anxiety, travel stress can slow down digestion.  Anxiety can also be caused by the discomfort of using a toilet outside one’s own home, especially public toilets.

This series of “unfortunate” events leads to disturbances in the digestive processes, due to which waste and harmful substances move more slowly through the gastrointestinal tract.

What can we do to prevent constipation while traveling?  Read our 5 tips below!

Tip #1:

Drink plenty of water and eat plenty of fiber before and during your trip.  Hydration and fiber are key to preventing constipation.  Make sure you drink enough water.  Dietary fiber is the other half of this prevention equation.  Green leafy vegetables, vegetables and fruits rich in water such as cantaloupe, watermelon and cucumbers and whole grains can be of great help.

Tip #2:

 Try to stick to your usual diet, sleep and exercise routine while traveling.  Eat the same meals at the same time and try to sleep at your usual time.

 Tip #3:

Reduce or avoid caffeine or alcohol while traveling, as they can dehydrate you and increase the risk of constipation.

 Tip #4:

Avoid snacks or meals that can negatively affect bowel function (for example, cheese and milk).  Eat snacks with probiotics to encourage the growth of healthy bacteria for regular and healthy bowel movements.  You may want to start doing this a few days before your trip to give the bacteria time to grow.

 Tip #5:

Be careful when eating new foods in places you travel to.  Different countries have different ingredients and cooking styles that can affect your gut in unexpected ways.

How does Donat help us in maintaining the health of the digestive system?

Due to its unique combination of minerals, Donat can be a big everyday help in solving certain problems, such as constipation and heartburn, but also in preventing different digestive problems. We should keep in mind that digestion has a very broad meaning, and Donat has a beneficial effect on different parts of the digestive system, so with a proper diet and a healthy lifestyle we take care of the health of the digestive system as a whole.
Besides stimulating digestion and supporting the normal functioning of digestion in its last phase which has been proven in a clinical study, Donat also solves the problem of heartburn in a very effective way. However, Donat has a beneficial effect on other parts of the digestive system as well, by supporting their normal function.

Drinking Donat on an everyday basis supports the normal functioning of the digestive system which affects the health of the entire body. For prevention, 0,2 – 0,3 l has to be drunk on an empty stomach in the morning, 0,1 l before lunch, and 0,1 – 0,2 l before dinner. It should be at room temperature.

If you suffer from constipation while traveling, then drink 0,2 – 0,3 l of Donat on an empty stomach in the morning and 0,2 l before dinner. You can heat the morning quantity so that Donat is warm (at body temperature, 37°C) because the effect will be faster, and CO2, which might cause bloating in more sensitive people, will evaporate.

Choose chapter:

How to Effectively Manage Stress through Nutrition for a Healthy Digestive System