When you’re traveling, it’s easy to fall into bad habits that can lead to digestive system problems such as constipation or diarrhea. Constipation is one of the ways in which the change in habits during a vacation can affect health. The organism, in particular the intestines, can indeed “suffer” during travel. Constipation is a transient disorder but rather annoying and can compromise the serenity of a relaxing time or interfere during the trip back home. Bowel regularity may be affected by a number of factors. Constipation, along with irregular intestinal transit, as well as being a symptom of more severe diseases may be temporary and represent a real headache. Often it is the journey, along with a change in lifestyle habits and food, that can cause constipation. But what happens to the intestine? What are the possible symptoms and precautions against constipation? The answer is given by Dr. Beatrice Salvioli, gastroenterologist at Humanitas hospital.

Healthy green Smoothie on wooden table

What are the symptoms of constipation?

“The definition of constipation is not the one which considers the weekly frequency of bowel movements but rather release. Simply put, a person is defined as constipated when various difficulties in bowel emptying, which include the amount of the “product”, are considered insufficient. The individual continues to feel full and spends a longer period of time on the toilet in the morning, with efforts often painful to manual maneuvers that must be undertaken in order to help themselves.”

What precautions  can be taken against constipation? Are there foods that should be avoided or ones that can help regulate bowel movements?

“If constipation is transient, this is a typical example for individuals who travel and it is manageable with a few tips on nutrition. Since the intestine is an organ of habit, it is important to try to maintain proper hydration (in the summer, with the heat, fluid intake should be increased), and avoid eating “junk food” such as chips, peanuts and too many spirits that are often present in drinks at the beach. During breakfast in the morning, there should never be a lack of fruits, in particular plums or kiwi”.


Is there any medication that can be taken to prevent constipation while traveling?

“The best remedy is soluble fiber, such as psyllium or glucomannan, which should always be taken with plenty of water. If this doesn’t help, the drug most suitable is an osmotic laxative such as Peg (polyethylene glycol) which enters into the intestine and draws water, thus facilitating the transit of the mass.”