More and more people are traveling now a days all over the world and lot of times traveling can take a toll on your health. If the journey is long it can cause fatigue and make you weak and reduce your immune system’s efficiency. Many times if you are traveling by air across time zones it can take further toll on your health and cause many travel related health issues.
Many people also fall victim to travel related constipation and bowel related problems also when they travel to a new location or stay there for some days. In fact traveling in one of the common causes of constipation. You should try to understand the reason for travel related constipation so that you can avoid this problem. Kids tend to suffer also as they are unaccustomed to the new environment and it can cause many health problems in kids also including constipation.
Reasons for Travel Related Constipation
1. Water – Water which you drink changes from place to place. All place may not have same sources of water and have different mineral content which can also make the water harder to digest. Since water is a major and essential component of what we drink it can make a difference in our digestive process. Many times water can also contain many impurities or bugs which can cause infections in the stomach and ruin your digestive system.
Many places in the world have water which has very high iron content. Too much mineral iron content intake is one of the many reasons for constipation. Similarly if there is too much of calcium in the water it can prevent another important mineral called Magnesium being absorbed by the body. Magnesium is important for the digestion system and its deficiency can cause problems in digestion and elimination.
2. Change in Food Times – When we travel a long distance the timing of the food intake changes due to time zone difference. Body tries to adjust to the new timings of the food intake and that can also cause constipation. Our body has triggers for various activities such as sleep, food intake and removal of toxins. Those triggers are decided by the day light hours.
Based of the environment such as temperature and the day light timings body starts various processes. Usually we eat food at certain times of the day and body digests and eliminates the food as per that routine. When traveling long distance especially across time zones entire system is disturbed and those who have weaker constitution are almost certain to face bowel problems.
3. Stopping the Urge – Sometimes the toilets are not clean enough during the travel in planes or the wayside restaurants and that may prevent you from using them. When you stop the urge intestines slow down in their activity and stool hardens in the bowels and makes it difficult later on to eliminate them. Stopping the urge also brings back more toxins in the blood.
4. Lack of Body Movements – When traveling we are stationery at the same place for a long time and that slows down the body, bowels and makes the entire system lethargic.
5. Sleep Disturbance – During long distance travel the sleep pattern goes haywire. Most of the digestion and the elimination system works during the time we sleep. Since sleep is disturbed these systems can also go downwards. You would be more prone to indigestion, acidity, gas and constipation when suffer from sleep disturbance.
6. Emotions – Many people, when they travel far away for a long time they are also leaving their close ones behind which can cause emotional disturbances. Emotional disturbances are also cause of many health problems though it is more temporary in nature.
How to Avoid Travel Related Constipation
Here are following steps you can take to avoid constipation while traveling.
1. Fluids – Take sufficient bottled water from sources you trust since usually they are purified and easier to digest. They will also contain mineral level to which your body is used to and find it easier to digest.
If the water is not suiting you at the new place then you can avoid it and replace it with apple of orange juice since they will fulfill you fluid needs and also helpful in avoiding constipation. However remember that many juices are not good for people with diabetes since it can raise the blood sugar levels very quickly. You can also go for coconut water. Now a days it is quite easy to find bottled water in most countries and places.
2. Small Meals – Take small meals frequently so that your bowels are used to the food and are kept active and they will try to keep the peristaltic movements active. However it is best to avoid food which are heavy, too much greasy and in too much quantity. It is always better to have little hungry stomach rather than suffering from indigestion, acid reflux, head aches and constipation as a result of taking too much food.
3. Stretching – Take frequent walks in the plane’s corridor or if traveling by road take breaks every few hours and take small walks so that circulation of blood is active. Even simple joint movements which can be done while sitting can keep the blood flow going and help out in muscles and tissues becoming too tense.
4. Mild Laxative – You can take laxative the previous night before you travel so that your bowels are clean before you start the travel and bowels are ready to take the strain. However ensure that you do not take too much quantity so that you do not have the danger of developing diarrhea. Usually Triphala powder with a glass of water is a good option in night. However if you are traveling early morning then do this the 2 nights before traveling and eat light.
5. Sleep More – If you are traveling via plane then it is better to sleep instead of watching the movie. Try to coordinate the sleep time with the timezone of the place you are traveling to. That way your body will find it easier to adjust to the new place and you will be able to recover faster from the travel fatigue and avoid problems like constipation.
If you kid suffers from constipation then read the article home remedies for constipation in children for more solutions and relief options.
Here are few helpful articles on constipation in general.