Travel Toilet Trouble

The joys of travel are rooted in special moments and unique experiences. However, your trip can be sidelined quickly by toilet troubles. The common culprits of bathroom sickness are constipation and diarrhea. Here we outline some simple causes and their fixes. 

Constipation is simply when your body’s waste moves too slowly through the large intestine, losing liquid along the way. When your feces stay in the bowel too long they become hard, dry, and difficult to pass. 

This can happen for various reasons when travelling. Some common causes are insufficient water intake, ignoring the need to use the bathroom (or being unable to find one), a diet lacking fibre, prolonged inactivity, or a blockage. 

Constipation is usually experienced for a couple days, and can be relieved with exercise, water intake, and increased dietary fibre. Laxatives should be used as a last resort, and only as directed by a healthcare professional. 

If the only sights you are seeing while travelling are the back of a toilet stall, you probably have diarrhea. Frequent, loose stools occur when waste moves too quickly through the intestines and water cannot be removed to solidify it. 

More serious than constipation, the causes can include not digesting food completely, bacterial or viral infections, and intestinal parasites (particularly while travelling). It can also be caused by emotional stress, such as worrying about having a perfect trip or losing your luggage.

Diarrhea usually only lasts a couple of days, and you can eat bananas, rice, and toast to firm things up. The key to recovery is staying hydrated, as your body is not getting the liquids it needs. Wash your hands often, especially before making meals, and avoid physical contact with people who have diarrhea. To avoid the main agents of diarrhea, avoid undercooked meat, raw seafood, or any food left out in the open.

When to seek medical attention
If exercise, water, and fibre has not helped your issues with constipation, and it is causing you pain, seek a medical professional for advice.  

Diarrhea is more serious. If you have it longer that 48 hours, a fever above 38.5°, or have abdominal pain or vomiting, seek medical attention. Also, if a child has diarrhea and has not urinated for 6 hours, seek medical attention immediately, as they might be dangerously dehydrated. 

For any more information about these common issues, or products to consider taking with you on vacation, visit your local pharmacist. 

The information in this article is presented strictly for informational purposes only, and should not be taken as medical advice. Please see your health care provider if you have any questions about your condition, medication, or treatment.