How to manage digestive issues while travelling 

Do you suffer from digestive issues which get worse while you’re travelling? If so, please know that you are not alone. 

In fact, this is one of the most common complaints in clinic and a subject I spend a lot of time supporting the people I work with to manage, as many of them travel frequently for work.

With the time of year and more outings and holidays, here are my top tips for managing digestive issues when travelling. 

The why:

There are a number of reasons why we experience digestive issues while travelling and it will often depend on whether you’re travelling for work or travelling for pleasure. 

With digestive issues when travelling for work, there can be associated stress which can compound the physical effects of travel. Often there can be long days with less regular meals, more caffeine and potentially more food triggers if eating out or on the go. 

If you experience digestive issues when travelling for pleasure, the change in routine both with food and day to day activity can throw our digestion off. There may be more alcohol, larger meals or unfamiliar foods, toilet anxiety to name a few. 

When we travel by plane, there is a change in cabin pressure as we climb into the sky. You may be familiar with the way bottles or crisp packets either expand or crumple with this change in pressure. Similarly, if you’ve not packed your liquids properly, there may be a liquid explosion….

The gas within our digestive system does the same thing which can contribute to digestive issues such as bloating, gas and pain. The good news is there are small steps you can take to support your gut and minimise these effects.

⁣Whether you’re flying short or long haul, here are my top tips for managing digestion when travelling:⁣

  1. Hydrate – it can be easy to forget the water when focusing on getting sorted and checked in. Dehydration can however cause digestive issues, in particular bloating and constipation. Keep a bottle with you and sip on it regularly. Most airports have a refilling station which is an added win. ⁣
  1. Mindful intake of FODMAPS and gaseous foods – for those with a sensitive gut, foods high in FODMAPS may exacerbate digestive symptoms (this is highly individual). Add a change in cabin pressure and the busyness of travel and it can be a recipe for disaster! Be conscious of your intake of these foods the days around and of travel where possible. ⁣
  1. Peppermint – taking in the form of tea can help with calming gut muscles, aids gas release and support that all important hydration. If considering capsules, be sure to check in with your GP.⁣
  1. Calming exercises – travel can be stressful! Between packing, queues, delays, altered routine and more. Practising some calming techniques such as gentle movement in lounges, slow breathing, or meditation can help with keeping the nervous system calm, resulting in a happier tum!⁣
  1. Probiotics can help with preventing travellers diarrhoea and can be a helpful addition in the weeks leading up to and during your trip.⁣
  1. Consider a psyllium husk supplement which helps to soften stools and increase stool bulk – a handy tool of fibre foods are not readily available. Just be sure to drink plenty of water. Sylliform is my fave and you can get this here. 

In addition to these, try not to leave the house without breakfast, bring snacks and eat small meals regularly to support gut motility and ease pressure on the system. 

Building a digestive health toolkit for travelling can ease a lot of stress and anxiety, two things we know worsen digestive symptoms!⁣ For most people, some or one of these factors can be enough so play around with it and see what works for you. 

If you’d like more tailored support, click here to enquire about working together.