What causes traveler's constipation?
Healthy people can't suppress the urge to move the bowels for too long no matter the circumstances or time zone. Thus, traveler's constipation is a marker of latent constipation — a form of hidden constipation that is behind enlarged hemorrhoids, anorectal neuropathy, diverticular disease, megacolon, IBS, PMS, inflammatory bowel disease, colorectal polyps, and many other conditions.
Judging from the popularity of this question, travel constipation annoys just as many people as airline food…
And, indeed, traveling nowadays seems like a high-stake hazard for one's gut — some people bitterly complain about wasting their vacation due to roaring diarrhea, others suffer in silence from brutal constipation, and a few unlucky souls get beaten up by both throughout their trip.
Let's go over the major reasons:
At first, constipation may start along with a sudden change of your diet;
Cause-and-effect: A few days after you trade your usual fiber-fortified morning cereal for a fiber-free continental breakfast, you may end up experiencing traveler's constipation because of the sudden fiber withdrawal. This means your bowels are addicted to fiber, and refuse to move without added bulk. Since fiber addiction is behind all major colorectal disorders — from hemorrhoids to colon cancer —don‘t expect me to recommend you to go back to your usual fiber fix or to take a fiber laxative. I‘d rather see you wean yourself from fiber dependence weeks before you travel, so you travel in peace, and enjoy your Egg Benedict without guilt.
Then it is the disruption of your usual daily routine typical for any travel;
Cause-and-effect: Our bodies are conditioned to the clock just like the Pavlovian dogs were conditioned to the bell. So, if nature‘s call catches you up in the wrong place and at the wrong time, naturally, you will do what any child or adult out of diapers does — suppress the urge to move your bowels until the time is right. Alas, withholding stools even once is a big no-no at any age, because it makes them impact, dry out, and jam up right before the narrowest juncture of your bowels. Do it once, do it twice, third is a charmer — your vacation ends up seriously ruined by a plug that will not leave your body without a plunger!
If you travel really far-and-away, jet lag is a big one too;
Cause-and-effect: Jet lag kicks in when you cross one too many times zones. Once half-way or down under, your body wants to move its bowels while you are counting sheep, and refuses to relieve itself while you are suffering from jet lag throughout the day because of all other factors discussed here.
Next is the general unease with using bathrooms outside of the home, especially by women;
Cause-and-effect: The anxiety over using bathroom facilities, either over the lack of hygiene, privacy, or both, has spoiled a good number of honeymoons for brides and grooms still embarrassed by bathroom anxieties in the round-the-clock presence of their newly minted significant other! Obviously, the same problem extends into all other aspects of lodging with companion(s).
Just as common is traveler's diarrhea, because it disrupts stools and leads to the inevitable constipation;
Cause-and-effect: Most people believe traveler's diarrhea is caused by contaminated food or water. That is, actually, not always true, especially when your companions aren‘t affected by eating and drinking from the same source. Actually, the most common reason for traveler's diarrhea is eating at the wrong time. What happens next is explained by the next reason…
Acute indigestion is also a frequent factor, because it disrupts the entire chain of mouth-to-anus digestive functions;
Cause-and-effect: After stuffing yourself senseless with all-you-can-eat delicacies, particularly at the wrong time, your stomach fails to digest protein fast enough, and undigested proteins begin to rot. The byproducts of proteins rotting are extremely poisonous, and cause violent expulsion of bodily fluids from both ends — vomit on top, diarrhea at the bottom. This happening, of course, disrupts regular bowel movements for a good while — it may take 3 to 4 days, sometimes longer, to restore a normal pattern, so it may seem like you are constipated. The worst thing you can do — and most do in this situation — is to take any kind of laxative, which may start yet another cycle of violent diarrhea with all that follows.
Finally, to top it all off, other hazards of traveling, such as dehydration or drug and alcohol abuse contribute to constipation;
Cause-and-effect: There are always other obscure reasons like indulging in too much booze while in Moscow, or trying out pot while in Amsterdam, or dehydration from too much fun under the sun in Belize… Well, whatever these indulgences are, health is always a pleasure, but pleasure isn‘t always health…
I explain all these hazards in greater detail on this page. This information will help you to survive any trip without harming your gut and killing the fun.
So, there you have it — if you are already predisposed to constipation, travel often makes it worse, so you may decide to stay at home rather than get stuck in a foreign loo and crying your eyes out while squeezing out hardened up, continental stools…
I don‘t blame you, and have a working solution for you:
— To enjoy a blissful vacation, sweet honeymoon, or productive business trip don't repeat any of the stupid things I have already described in the cause-and-effect sections above;
— Take a container of Hydro-C Colonic Moisturizer along for the trip. Unlike conventional laxatives, it is non-toxic, free of residual side-effects such as multiple bouts of diarrhea, irritable bowel, anal itching, or dehydration. It is also relatively 'on-demand,' meaning the urge to move your bowels isn't going to catch you while in the middle of Paris, Moscow, or Rome.
— When you come back home, realize that your colorectal health is destined to get worse, not better, and address the underlying problems once-and-for-all by starting to read from here: No Downsize, Just Upside-down.
If you ignore my recommendations, and your vacation is wasted with bloody stools or painful hemorrhoids, you deserve it! Only a certified pessimist and incurable cheapskate will spend several thousand dollars to travel to exotic locales, while failing to take along an inexpensive and effective remedy to enjoy pleasant trip and peace of mind. Don't be the one...