Travel disrupts normal habits leading to health issues. One commonly faced health problem in travelers is constipation. Traveler’s constipation is very much real and could hamper one’s vacation or business plans. Thankfully, there are some known cures and medicines to keep on hand in order to prevent constipation while traveling. See which of the following effective ‘traveler’s constipation cures’ help you:
1. Stay hydrated
As far as possible, drink plenty of fluid. Make sure you choose bottled drinking water only; avoid drinking from unknown sources. If needed, treat the water with chlorine drops or pills first to ensure purity. Drink at least 8-10 glasses of water. Avoid carbonated and sugary beverages; they tend to dehydrate you further. Pure water is best. Wherever possible, opt for fresh fruit juices and vegetable juices. If you are traveling to a third world country, it is best to avoid drinking from roadside eateries.
2. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables
Avoid eating refined, processed foods. Go for whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Brown rice, whole grain cereals, oats and bran are readily available. Most good hotels offer a decent breakfast spread consisting of fruits and cereals. Focus on these foods instead of meat, white breads etc which can be constipating. Cabbage, peas, garlic, potatoes and green vegetables are good sources of fiber that can prevent constipation.
3. Carry travel constipation medicine
Metamucil is available in pill and powder forms and pills make a convenient travel constipation medicine. (Note that 1 pill of Metamucil contains 0.5 grams of psyillum husk fiber while 1 rounded tsp of Metamucil powder contains about 10 grams of psyllium. The recommended dosage on Metamucil powder is about 1 rounded tsp per day. Most doctors also recommend an intake of 10-12 grams of fiber per day. So if you do the math, you’d need at least 20 pills of Metamucil per day to meet this requirement. That is definitely a lot of pills to take while traveling.)Speak to your doctor about a better Metamucil alternative. Miralax is another popular travel constipation medicine.
4. Coffee and tea
Many travelers are known to have good results with hot coffee. Drinking a cup of hot coffee while traveling encourages bowel movement and aids in preventing travel constipation. Tea also works. Avoid milky beverages-go for herbal teas or black coffee. You can add lemon juice and a bit of honey to tea for enhancing the flavor. You can easily carry herbal tea bags with you.
5. Prune juice
If prune juice is available (you should get it in most food stores) keep it on hand to avoid traveler’s constipation.
6. Do some yoga poses
This is one of the best traveler’s constipation cures. Poses like Sun salutations aid in bowel movement. You can also do PawanMuktasana or the Gas Release pose. Here are the steps to do PawanMuktasana:
- Lie on your back on a mat.
- Fold both legs and bring your knees on your chest. Hug your knees with your arms as you slightly raise your upper body.
- Now you are resting on the small of your back. In this position, you can rock back and forth or sideways to release trapped gases.
This pose stimulates bowels, preventing constipation.
7. Drink a bit of alcohol the night before
This is not something your doctor will tell you, but a small shot of whiskey or vodka the night before help you keep your systems clear the next day.
8. Go for a run
Exercise is the best cure for travel constipation as it encourages bowel movement and aids digestion. Go for brisk walk, though running is particularly beneficial. You can also swim or do some high intensity workout like squats, abdominal crunches, pushups etc in the hotel room or gym.
9. Lime water
Warm water with lemon or lime juice can keep your body fit and mind alert. Most hotels will oblige with your request for lemon slices. This is one of the best known traveler’s constipation cures. You can also add ginger powder (readily available in general stores) to your hot water and drink this to soothe diarrhea, constipation, motion sickness nausea and all kinds of travel related issues. If lemon and ginger are both unavailable, simply drink a glass of warm water first thing in the morning. Then go for a jog or a run and you will be clear soon!
Carry a pack of dark brown or black raisins with you. Soak them in water overnight. Next morning, before breakfast, eat the swollen raisins and drink the water used for soaking. This will immediately stimulate bowels. Fresh grapes also have a mild laxative effect. Always wash grapes thoroughly in warm water before consumption.
11. Make your own laxative powder
If you aren’t too fond of using Miralax for travel constipation, here is a great recipe for constipation eliminating herbal powder. You can easily carry this with you on your travels:
- 2-3 almonds
- 1 tsp sesame seeds
- 2 tsp sunflower seeds
- 2-3 tsp flaxseeds
- 1-2 tsp linseeds
Roast all seeds and almonds. Crush or grind them in a coffee grinder. Eat a tablespoon of this powder daily with salads, fruit juices and fresh fruit. You can also add this homemade laxative powder to your cereals and oatmeal.
12. Milk of magnesia
Drink a teaspoon of Milk of Magnesia before bed and you should be clear in the morning. Milk of magnesia is readily available in medical stores everywhere.
13. Mineral oil or castor oil
Consume a teaspoon of mineral oil or castor oil. This age old remedy immediately relieves constipation and will help you clear out the bowels. Both oils are readily available in general and medical stores.
14. Make your own trail mixes
Make your own trail mix with the following fiber-rich ingredients:
- 1 cup each- mini pretzels and Cheerios
- ½ cup of raisins and nuts each
- 1 cup of dried cranberries, pecans and sunflower seeds
Mix all ingredients and store it in an air-tight container. Have this during your travel or as a late night snack to get all the fiber you need.
15. Relax and meditate
Traveler’s constipation is real but it also has a lot to do with your mind. Travel can make you anxious but you must learn to let go of the stress. Relax and meditate or do some chanting. Breathe deeply and slowly to stay in the present moment. As your stress levels go down, all systems in your body will start to work harmoniously.
If, despite these remedies, you do not have a bowel movement for more than 5 days, you might need an enema or medical intervention. See a doctor as soon as you can.