It’s an uncomfortable feeling: you’re traveling for vacation or work, on the go at odd hours, guzzling coffee and diet coke to stay up while munching on airplane peanuts and pretzels all the while feeling uncomfortable and bloated. The feeling is constipation. An affliction that is most common among women and the elderly, constipation occurs when our bowel movements are difficult or infrequent, and can be exacerbated when traveling.
While it may seem like this malady occurs only when you’re on the train or in the sky, it’s most likely due to something much simpler, such as a disrupted diet. Constipation usually occurs when our bodies are dehydrated, which can easily occur when we snack on saltier foods or indulge in a higher than normal amount of caffeine – typical travel behavior. When we travel we’re also likely to be eating less fruits and vegetables, foods that naturally promote digestion.
Stress can also have an influence on our bowel movements and can easily be increased when dealing with irritants such as flight delays and baggage claim qualms.
To combat constipation, it is a good idea to drink one and a half to two quarts of water to prevent dehydration, and to pack a snack-sized box of Raisin Bran or another similarly high-fiber cereal, as fiber is another digestion booster. Exercise can also help, so walking around the terminal or train station while you wait, may serve as a more constructive way to spend your time rather than languishing at the bar.