away with IBS

Travelling can be a thrilling experience, but for those with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), it can also be a source of anxiety. With some thoughtful preparation and planning, you can manage your IBS symptoms and focus on simply enjoying your getaway.

Here, we offer essential tips for planning a trip away with IBS, from preparing in advance to ensuring you have everything you need to stay comfortable and relaxed.

Preparation is crucial

When travelling with IBS, preparation is crucial. Start by researching your destination to identify resources that can help you manage your condition. Look up nearby pharmacies, grocery stores, and restaurants that offer IBS-friendly options. Knowing where to find these resources can alleviate a lot of stress.

Make a checklist of everything you’ll need, including medications, travel documents, and comfort items like a travel pillow or heating pad. Packing familiar foods that you know won’t trigger your symptoms can also be a lifesaver.

Lastly, if you’re flying, consider booking an aisle seat for easier access to the restroom, and inform the airline of any dietary needs ahead of time.

Plan meals and snacks in advance

One of the biggest challenges of travelling with IBS is finding suitable food options. Planning your meals and snacks in advance can help you avoid unexpected triggers. Before you leave, research restaurants at your destination that offer IBS-friendly menus or are willing to accommodate dietary restrictions.

Pack a variety of safe snacks to have on hand during travel and for emergencies. Good options include nuts, seeds, gluten-free crackers, low-FODMAP fruits, and homemade granola bars. If you’re staying in accommodations with kitchen facilities, consider cooking some meals yourself to ensure you have control over the ingredients.

When eating out, don’t hesitate to ask questions about how the food is prepared and request modifications if necessary. Most restaurants are accommodating when you explain your dietary needs.

Don’t forget your medication

Medications are a critical component of managing IBS and forgetting them can quickly turn a dream getaway into a nightmare. Ensure you have enough medication for the duration of your trip, plus a few extra days’ worth in case of delays. Pack your medications in your carry-on bag to avoid losing them if your checked luggage is misplaced.

If you use prescription medications, carry a copy of your prescriptions and a letter from your doctor explaining your condition and treatment. This can be helpful if you need to replace medications while away or if you’re questioned by security personnel.

You should also consider bringing over-the-counter remedies for symptoms that might flare up, such as anti-diarrheal medications, fibre supplements, or peppermint oil capsules. Having these on hand can provide peace of mind and quick relief if needed.

Remember to relax

Travelling can be stressful, and stress is a known trigger for IBS symptoms. Incorporating relaxation techniques into your travel routine can help keep your symptoms at bay. Practise deep breathing exercises, meditation, or yoga to manage stress and keep your body relaxed.

Build downtime into your itinerary to avoid overexerting yourself too. Schedule leisurely activities and avoid packing too many high-energy excursions into your day. Taking time to rest and enjoy quiet moments can make a significant difference in how you feel.

Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water, as dehydration can worsen IBS symptoms. Avoid excessive caffeine and alcohol, as these can also trigger symptoms.

Finally, listen to your body. If you feel tired or unwell, allow yourself to take a break. Don’t push yourself too hard. It’s better to rest and recover than to push through and exacerbate your symptoms.

If you are struggling to manage IBS, or have symptoms and need a confirmed diagnosis, book an appointment with Mr Michael Stellakis for expert guidance.