Traveller’s constipation – is it even a thing? For food-loving Singaporeans, moving our bowels when in another country can be a problem.
Back home in Singapore, regularity is a problem I face on an almost daily basis. “You mean you don’t poop a few hours after each meal?!?!” my husband would always ask with incredulity. No. I don’t and, frankly, I can’t. In fact, I’d be lucky if I can poop once a day!
And when I’m travelling, this stinker of a problem gets even worse. Faced with simple-carb laden airplane food, oily hotel breakfasts, and unhealthy snacks and street food, my “plumbing system” often gets choked up for days on end until I take an insane amount of yoghurt or scarf down a basket of raw vegetables.
But a sudden increase in fibre-free food isn’t the only reason why we get traveller’s constipation.
1. Undesirable toilet conditions
Clean, dry, hotel-worthy toilets can be as rare as a blue penguin in certain parts of the world. When you are out and about, and the need to “evacuate” arises, do you just use whatever facility that’s available or do you wait until you find somewhere more comfortable? Holding it in causes the poop to impact and dry up, resulting in you having to push harder when you “feel” you need to poop.
2. The stress of travelling
One would think going on a vacation means your mind and body can finally relax. Unfortunately, your body has a routine and it likes it undisturbed as much as possible. So while you are sleeping, it could be the “time” for your body to poop. And when you’re awake, because it’s missed the opportunity to poop, it’s behaving like a recalcitrant child and holding it all in.
It could be because you want to reduce the number of times you need to find a nice-enough toilet, it could be because you are so caught up with the sights and activities that you forget to drink. Alcohol is a diuretic so all that mai tais and Bloody Marys will need to be followed with the drinking of good ol’ plain water. Water is needed to move things along so do yourself a favour and keep your body well-hydrated!
Conclusion: fibre is your best friend
There was this one time, I was in Seoul for work. For dinner, our host took us to a Korean BBQ restaurant. Unlike the ones in Singapore that give you only a tiny basket of lettuce, this one gave each table a large tray filled with at least 5 types of raw vegetables. I ate so much veggies that when I got back to the hotel, I did such a massive poop, I ended up choking the toilet. Thankfully, the problem got flushed away after about 10 flushes and a kettle of boiling hot water.
So while it’s incredibly tempting to gorge on burgers and tacos of epic proportions after a day out at the beach, try your very best to include some veggies and fruit into each meal. Trust me, you’d rather choke the toilet than choke your body. Constipation is a terribly uncomfortable thing to deal with while you’re on a holiday. Do whatever you can to keep things smooth-going.
Do you suffer from traveller’s constipation? How do you go about looking for some relief? Tell us in Comments.
28 Oct 2016