It’s hard to poop while traveling.

Destination constipation represented by a woman in a bathing suit clutching her stomach, with a pool and the shadow of a plane behind her.

Experts agree that destination constipation is real. (Photo by Getty Images; illustration Nathalie Cruz)

Everyone is different but most people poop according to a routine that works for them. But a slew of factors can throw off that schedule and cause constipation — including something as simple as going on a trip.

Yahoo Life’s Amanda Mae Renkel says she has experienced constipation at many destinations. “I’ve experienced constipation on nearly every trip that I have ever taken, as far as I can recall,” she said. “The severity of constipation has varied, but I’ve experienced everything from complete to mild constipation.”

Renkel, a runner, travels for races which makes constipation for travelers “problematic”. Yahoo Life told Renkel that she felt the need to go to the bathroom on the night of my Chicago Marathon 2016 finish. It was torture.

Olguyne asked for her last name to be kept private because she has struggled with constipation since childhood. Yahoo Life reveals that her worst experience was on a European trip she took and didn’t return for 10 days. We were constantly on the move, doing activities back to back. My abdomen was very bloated and I struggled to keep up with the pace when we had to walk longer distances. This was something that was not common for me.

After taking a laxative, she didn’t feel any relief. Olguyne said that constipation was something she had experienced on almost every vacation.

Although there aren’t hard and fast numbers as to how frequently destination constipation happens, doctors believe it is more common than most people realize. It is quite common. Dr. Rudolph BedfordYahoo Life is told by a gastroenterologist from Providence Saint John’s Health Center, Santa Monica, Calif. What is destination constipation and how can you avoid it? Here’s the deal.

What is constipation destination?

“Destination Constipation” or “traveler’s constipation” isn’t a term in medicine. It is a term used to describe feeling constipated while away from home. If you have constipation, you can experience a reduced number of bowel movements per week, hard, dry or lumpy poop, difficulty passing poop or the feeling that you didn’t get all your food out when you attempted to go No. 2. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

It is a fairly common phenomenon for someone to be a little slower away from home. Dr. Ellen SteinYahoo Life speaks with, the interim clinical director for Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School’s GI division. “Travel can bring about a lot changes in sleep, diet, and stress levels that can impact or completely disrupt the routines that keep people on track.

Why does destination constipation happen?

According to doctors, there are several things that could cause you to become stranded on the road.

  • You won’t be able to travel at the same time as usual. Bedford points out that many people who are consistent go to the same place every day. If you are on a plane where you poop frequently, you might try to delay going to a more convenient time. This can make you feel a little agitated, which could increase your constipation risk.

  • Your sleep cycle may be off. Bedford says that “there is some neurologic advantage to your body resting” and that it can have an effect on your bowels. A change in routine that can mess up your sleep cycle can also interfere with when — and how often — you poop. He says that our bodies are used to routines in many different ways. A change in your sleep schedule could disrupt the peristaltic waves, which help to push food through your stomach.

  • You are not well hydrated. Stein states that hydration is essential to maintain all body functions in good working order. The body may need more water if it is traveling long distances or at higher altitudes. But if you’re not taking in enough fluids — which is understandable if you’re trying to avoid frequent trips to the bathroom on the road or while sightseeing — you could end up with poop that’s harder to pass, Bedford says.

  • You’re eating different foods. Bedford points out that a lower intake of fiber-rich foods, such as fruits and vegetables, can cause bowel problems. He says that if you combine this with a low level of hydration, it can increase your risk of becoming constipated.

  • You’re in a different time zone. Stein also says that time zone changes can cause you to be confused. “If you were a regular 6 a.m. pooper, and you travel over to somewhere 12 hours apart in time, that urge may strike at its usual time — which would be now 6 p.m.,” she points out. It might be difficult for you to get there at that time. This increases the likelihood of you getting stuck.

How to reduce your chance of constipation at destination

Bedford advises that you should be aware of all your habits while on the move. This means that you should drink as much fluids as you normally do, and make sure to eat enough vegetables, fruits, and fibrous food. He says that some people recommend having a bowel movement before you go, to ensure safety.

Stein also agrees with the importance of hydration. He says, “Try to keep your fluid requirements at least half-way through your trip.” You may have to pay more attention to hydration on days that are longer than usual due to prolonged travel.

Bedford says that staying active is key to maintaining regular bowel movements. “Movement always helps,” Bedford says.

Renkel believes that it is crucial to keep a regular sleep-wake cycle. She says that sticking to a similar schedule as the one she follows at home can make a huge difference in the game. This might mean that I cannot sleep in on vacation to avoid constipation.

What to do when you feel constipated while driving

Bedford recommends trying natural remedies first — meaning, drink plenty of water and fill up on fruits and vegetables. Stein suggests eating prunes and raisins, as well as dates, to “naturally speed up” the process.

MiraLax can be used to help if this doesn’t work.

Olguyne believes that this issue is very common. She says, “You are not alone.” “Don’t be afraid of finding a solution, even if it’s uncomfortable. You might also find it helpful to know the words for “laxative” when speaking in other languages, especially if your destination is a foreign country.

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