Travel tips for ibs sufferers(30 Posts)
I've posted a bit about this lately but basically I'm having a spell of ibs/IBD issues - the worse one is having to urgently dash to the loo after eating.
I'm going abroad in a week or so and I'm really worried about how I'll cope with the travel, unfamiliar surroundings, different foods etc. I've gone as far as googling where public toilets are in the area we're staying!
I don't want my life or holiday to be ruled by my unpredictable bowels and am planning on stocking up on immodium before we go but does anyone else who suffers from IBS have any advice for travelling? So worried about being caught short :/
I get up, drink a load, and eat breakfast hours before we have to go anywhere. Gets everything moving and done before I start the day.
We did a driving honeymoon for a month, and if we were going to be driving that day, I often didn't eat again during the day, until the night time. Not a healthy long term solution perhaps, but worked for me.
If you take immodium, I've found waiting at least 1.5-2hrs afterwards before eating anything, means it doesn't go through you. Again, not a long term solution, but handy for a day trip somewhere remote for example.
Stay with non greasy foods, and away from whatever your triggers are. Don't feel bad for using the immodium, but do remember that what goes in must eventually come out.
A driving holiday was my worst fear, but i was so desperate to do it. Had an amazing time. Try and enjoy yourself
I suffered very badly with IBS some years ago. I started taking Multibionta vitamins and it greatly improved.
I really feel for you. It's so horrible always wondering where the loos is. The worry of being caught short would set my IBS off.
It felt like my stomach sabotaged any attempt at having a nice time.
@sar302 some fab advice there thank you.
@Sparklingbrook tell me about it, the anxiety makes it so much. I have had this awful feeling since the weekend of soreness in my lower abdomen with urgent need for the loo within half an hour of eating. So annoying.
I'm most worried about the airport transfers as they're quite long and on a coach with other people. Being out and about is less problematic and there usually tend to me bars and cafes about to nip into but I still get really anxious in unfamiliar places.
Maybe download yourself a meditation app before you go. It doesn't help when food disagrees with you, but it can help when you know you're just being anxious. Take some deep breaths.
I also carry moist toilet wipes and a nappy bag with me. God forbid the worst happens, you're prepared. And rationalise what your limits are. I worry it's going to happen immediately, but logically I know I have 15-20mins. You can usually get to somewhere in 15-20mins.
Since giving birth I also have a bowel prolapse. Add that to IBS and horrific gluten sensitivity and I decided to "treat" myself to a radar key, for disabled loos. Don't know if they work abroad, but I think I ordered mine from the bladder and bowel association (or similar).
You can do this!
Drinking lots and peeing at every available opportunity have got me through a number of trips to Ireland/Germany.
Even if you don't "want to go", don't let that stop you going to the loo.
I have had what I can only describe as a sore feeling in my tummy and abdomen since the weekend along with the urgent BMs so I'm just generally worried about being poorly while away. No point going to doctors at this stage as I highly doubt they'll be able to give me anything. I think a lot of it is probably anxiety induced as I'm a very nervous traveller in general and this time we are going without the kids so worried about leaving them too.
I guess I just need to stop worrying and expecting the worst.
I'm exactly the same, worrying about not making it to the loo or where the loos are makes me immediately need the loo. I avoid Immodium because then I instantly get horribly constipated.
Just remember, everyone in every country needs the toilet- there will be toilets everywhere. Go before you get on the coach transfers.
No advice sorry OP but placemarking as I also have IBS and we're planning our first overseas holiday in years, so I'll be making notes too!
Have you taken Buscopan?
You can buy it over the counter and it really helps with the cramping etc.
At times when my IBS is really bad and I’m going on a day trip or suchlike, I’ll take a big hand bag and put in wipes, spare underwear and a rolled up pair of trousers. So I know that if the absolute worst happens I can deal with it. Psychologically I find it really helps me and makes me less panicked, which in turn makes it less likely I’ll need the loo! I don’t like taking Imodium unless I absolutely have to as I feel it doesn’t help in the long run.
I'm having EMDR to help with my IBS. I also take propranolol to keep the anxiety down. Luckily mine has improved over the years, but I stay very much within my comfort zone and just the thought of being somewhere I don't know can make me feel anxious about finding a loo.
I feel less stressed if I know what the plan is for travel and can break it down into manageable parts in my head. I agree that getting up early to have breakfast then leaving yourself time to go to the loo starts the day off in a less stressful way, which can help later on.
I use the Headspace app and meditate every morning to also help start the day off calm.
I really feel for you
Immodium really does help me but I become a bit reliant on it and I find sometimes 3-4 days down the line it's pretty traumatic when you finally have to go!
Buscopan I've never tried but I don't really get cramps as such it's more just an urgent need to go rather than too much associated pain.
My triggers are public transport so the coach and plane are going to be a struggle or any place where I know a toilet isn't easily accessible. Really hope it settles down before we go. I've taken emergency kits with pants and wipes out in the past so might try that again.
Would it be worth using discreet incontinence pads on the trip just in case?
Flying really fucks me up. Wear something loose - you might blow up like a barrage balloon! I blame the changes in air pressure. I am better if I can avoid eating on the flight. Obviously if it's long haul that's not feasible.
I read online years ago peptobismol tablets 2/3 times a day before eating worked. Perhaps it's a mental thing but I've not had the dash to the loo horrid experience on any of my travels abroad (which have been varied and increasingly more adventurous food wise) since I started taking them while away. Prior to this at least once during any holiday abroad I would have one bad flare up about 20 minutes after finishing a meal.
I use codeine for mine. It stops diarrhoea and stomach cramps. I buy OTC codeine with paracetamol. I only need 2 and it wards off flare ups for whole day usually. I don’t take every day. Only when travelling or IBS particularly bad.
I take moist toilet wipes and those little bags you put used tampons etc in.
On holiday (and at home really) I don't have breakfast, don't tend to have lunch and only eat in the evening if I am going to be near a loo. I don't eat pasta, cheese etc so that helps!
I holiday on my own so don't need to worry about a partner that wants to actually eat at some point in the day!
I know that what I do is definitely not right foe most other people, but it's the only thing that works for me.
Oh OP I really do feel for you because I am the same and it is fucking awful. I eat really bland food for the 2 days prior to travelling. Then I take immodium about 6 hours before travelling then again 2 hours before I leave. That way I feel 'safe' for a few hours. I have been taking them so often for so long that I need to double my dose as 2 tablets at a time don't work for me. I don't get constipated though as they just don't work long enough for me any more. If I take a double dose I know I am good for a few hours then will go later that evening. If anything it's more about slowing my bowels down these days than stopping them altogether as they just don't work like that for me. So I suppose there's a word of warning in there for you, use them yes, but try not to overdo it with them or they might not work so well down the line.
Anyway, back to travelling. So, bland diet for 2 days then I take immodium every 4-6 hours starting 6 hours or so before leaving home. This way I feel safer knowing they've had time to work. Drink plenty while travelling but avoid fatty foods and triggers for you (mine are tomato. Or cheese if it's hot. And too much fruit/veg). Kalms or anxiety meds are great for keeping the panic away and if you have some music or a good book then get really into it as I find if my mind is distracted then I worry less and my brain doesn't start thinking about the toilet.
Arrive in plenty of time for the airport, you don't need the added panic of being late as that could go straight to your stomach and start an attack. If you need to poo then go do it (I take poo-pourri as I've an irrational anxiety about people knowing I'm pooping!), try to just keep calm even if an attack starts because you know yourself it's a vicious cycle and could keep going if you can't calm yourself. Run cold water on your wrists if you start to panic. Try buscopan or colperamin as soon as your tummy gets that odd feeling. Maybe take another imodium an hour before the transfers on the other end (sorry I know I'm suggesting them too often but for me travelling is the one time I will take the max doses and pay for it later as otherwise I couldn't travel).
Just try to plan out as much as you can to reduce the amount of things that you could panic about. Carry wet wipes and clean pants, even another skirt/leggings and plastic bags, just for the worst case scenario.
And remember the people you are travelling with you'll probably never see again so don't worry about them.
I have been there. I am so sorry you are feeling like this. It is a vicious circle because of the mind gut connection. You get anxious about needing the loo...and so you need the loo.
I got my anxiety and IBS under control with medication and CBT.
You say IBS/IBD in your original post but which one do you actually have because they’re very different. Or do you have both? The treatments are very different and you shouldn’t be taking Imodium if you’re having a flare up of IBD.
Sorry haven't RTFT yet, but Loperamide (getting GP to px is far cheaper than buying, but supermarkets own brand is far, far cheaper than Imodium (approx £1.25 for 6 tablets j if you are dx'ed.).
Also, take Buscopan (same tips as loperamide re: GP). You can also get Mebeverine, which I find works better.
I've been to many countries with IBS, these are both in my bag. Be careful what you eat, and drink. Some places hygiene standards leave a lot to be desired. Avoid shellfish and ensure meat is cooked. The number of people who eat raw meat (especially chicken) is crazy, drunk and not!
Immodium and don't eat!
Drastic I know but better than the alternative.
Buscopan, works great at easing cramps plus the need to go.
Feel for you OP, i'm having a crap week with bad cramps etc funny thing is i am ok on holiday as i am relaxed, can eat anything, but airport etc requires buscopan
@Scion457 the truth is I don't know. Have had on/off bowel troubles for years. Doctors say ibs but no formal tests ie a colonoscopy for many years. IBD issues run in the family but never been diagnosed myself.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, quick, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Get started »
Please login first.