I experienced travelers constipation on a recent trip to Nebraska for my dad’s 80th birthday party.
Actually, I don’t usually get constipated. Every day I take some Ionic Sea Minerals, which is a mineral supplement high in magnesium. It does a pretty good job of keeping my bowels moving like clock work.
However, over the years I have noticed that it is easy to get constipation away from home. This trip was no exception.
There are numerous things that can contribute to travelers constipation.
My wife and I tend to eat healthy meals while at home, with lots of veggies, protein, whole wheat bread and beneficial fats. But when we are away from home maintaining a good diet is so much harder.
To make matters worse, I bought a huge jar of peanuts to snack on in between meals.
For me, eating a lot of peanuts is a sure recipe for constipation. After a couple of days, I stopped indulging, but the damage had already been done. For the next couple of days my bowels didn't function normally.
Our bodies become conditioned to a certain routine, and when we change that routine, it can throw off our daily bowel movements.
At home, my bowels function like clockwork. Away from home, they just don't.
What is there about riding in a car or plane that keeps one's bowels from functioning correctly?
Yes, I am sure it could have something to do with limited movement for long periods of time. Whatever it is, a car or plane ride seems to slow my bowel activity down to a crawl.
Case in point: When there was a sudden change in plans, for our return trip we found ourselves driving from Nebraska to Denver instead of flying. Just before the 5 hour car ride to the Denver airport, I took a dose and a half of my magnesium rich mineral supplement.
Normally when I take this much, it only takes an hour or so until I feel the welcome "urge to go". This time it didn't come till 5 hours later, when we arrived in Denver.
Sitting for long periods of time in a car or plane does affect how our bowel's function.
Our body’s circadian clock can become confused when we get up, go to bed and eat at a different time of day.
One or two time zones can make a difference. A greater change can compound the problem.
We are comfortable with our bathroom routines at home and at work. In a strange environment, we can have some anxiety about sanitation and privacy.
Besides, who wants to stink up someone else’s bathroom?
Being able to relax is important to defecation. Travelers constipation can make it hard to relax in a strange environment.
Indulging in delicious food is just one of the fun things about taking a trip. During our 5 day trip to Nebraska we ate out more than we ate at home. DELICIOUS!
Sadly, when we stuff ourselves full, it tends to back up our colon. The body just can't keep up with digesting the food we are throwing at it.
I always make a point of trying to stay hydrated. However, in someone else’s home, with a funny schedule, or on long flights it can be a bit hard to do.
Do you know how hard it is when you are 6 foot 4 inches tall to use those airplane bathrooms?
Our flight to Nebraska and back was on a smaller plane (just 2 seats on each side of the aisle). The ceiling curved in so much that it was TOTALLY IMPOSSIBLE to go “number one” unless I sat down. I really prefer to drink less and avoid the experience.
Dehydration can also be caused by more time at the beach soaking in some rays; or by a lot of walking, like shopping trips, sightseeing, or hiking the rocky mountains. It can also be caused by drinking a lot of juices, coffee, tea, or alcoholic beverages instead of water.
When dehydrated, the body takes fluid away from digesting our food and uses it to keep other bodily functions operating, to keep us from dying. :-) And keep in mind that hydration isn't just about water, it is also about electrolytes.
Ok, from the above list, we have noted a number of things that help prevent travelers constipation, like:
Here's the biggie: take a mineral supplement rich in magnesium. Like most Americans, you probably could really use the trace minerals in an Ionic Sea Mineral supplement.
But this concentrated sea mineral supplement has much more than needed trace minerals. A single dose gives you 106% of the US RDA of Ionic Magnesium, with very little sodium. Magnesium has numerous health benefits.
Magnesium is used in products like Philips Milk of Magnesia because it pulls water into the stool. A magnesium supplement is the best way I know of to get quick relief from travelers constipation without cramping and straining.
In my experience, using Ionic Sea Minerals gives me pretty much total control of my bowels. If I eat a lot of peanuts or steak and get bound up, by just taking a little more than usual it softens things up and gets them moving – fast!
The Ionic Sea Minerals come in a handy 1.25 ounce bottle, called EBoost 76. On our trip to Nebraska I carried two of these on the plane in one of those quart Ziploc bags (to meet airport security requirements).
I love my daily bowel movements. However, on the day of travel to Nebraska, I didn't have one.
The next 3 days there was some movement, but not enough. Just before the car ride to the airport, I took an extra ½ teaspoon of minerals, and totally emptied out when I got to Denver.
On the next day, normal bowels. That extra ½ teaspoon really did the trick!
It is so easy to get constipated while traveling or when away from home. However, by following the above guidelines (and taking a magnesium supplement) I believe travelers constipation can be easily overcome.