4 MD-Approved Tips For Staying Regular While On Vacation
Going on vacation is the best. You get a break from your everyday routine, you're probably enjoying some stunning sights, and the food is generally unparalleled. But one side effect of vacation that's not so fun? The disruption of your bathroom routine.
Staying regular can be a struggle even at home, so hitting the road and changing your schedule may be a catalyst for some discomfort and straining when it comes to using the restroom on vacation.
Whether you're preparing to go on a trip later this year and are looking to preemptively keep your gut in check, or you're currently on vacation and need a little support, we have the best tips for staying regular.
Why it happens.
It's first important to understand why bathroom troubles are so common when you're on a trip or away from your regular routine. Although vacation is often packed with relaxation and fun, it's undeniable that the travel portion can sometimes be a little stressful—which is actually a common cause for disrupting digestion regularity. "Stress will shut down or inhibit regular bowel movements because bowel movements are less of a priority if the body thinks it's about to be eaten by a lion (and that's what happens when we get stressed)," explains Wendie Trubow, M.D., MBA. (Even when your vacay is not an African safari).
That's right: the chaos of the airport or even just hitting traffic on the road can make it that much harder to use the restroom, even after the stress has passed. Another common cause? Your diet on vacation. "We often change our diet and eat more processed carbs, drink more alcohol, and eat more sugar on vacation," explains Trubow. Following a fibrous and nutrient-dense diet is vital for keeping things moving, and that generally falls to the wayside when you're on a trip.
Tips for staying regular on vacation:
Try a targeted supplement.
It's inevitable that your diet will change when you're away from home—and key supplements can be a great option for not just filling in nutritional gaps but also functionally helping to support regularity.* "Bring along magnesium citrate, which causes water to get pulled into the gut and the gut to contract, leading to bowel movements, and insoluble fiber, which works by bulking up the stool and allowing it to pass more easily," suggests Trubow.
For prioritizing your gut health on the daily (yes, even after vacation), mbg's probiotic+ is an excellent option for easing bloating, promoting smooth digestion, and even supporting optimal gut health.* Complete with 32 billion CFU of live bacteria spanning four clinically studied strains, this probiotic can make sure your gut microbiome is getting the nourishment it needs.*
Hydration is key for maintaining regular bowel movements, and both integrative gastroenterologist Marvin Singh, M.D., and Trubow agree that drinking plenty of water even leading up to your trip can keep things moving while you''re weathering the stress and change in routine. "If you're not taking in adequate fluids, then the stool gets harder and more difficult to move," explains Trubow. While you may be inclined to drink more alcohol on your vacation, balance that with water, especially if you're sitting on a beach in hot temperatures.
Focus on fiber.
Like we said: Your diet is naturally going to change a little when you're away from home, but making sure to infuse your meals with fruits and vegetables should help to bulk up your stool and keep things moving. "It is not a bad idea to perhaps even increase your fiber intake before travel and make sure you eat healthy once you get to your destination," recommends Singh. "It's OK to have fun and live a little, but it's also important to remember what your body needs."
Balance is the name of the game in your day-to-day diet, and you still want to be able to enjoy a variety of cuisines on vacation. However, sticking to the basics for some meals will give your gut the nutrients it needs to help with regularity while you're away. May we suggest bringing along a greens powder, like mbg's organic veggies+, to sprinkle on meals that may be in need of a fiber and veggie boost? The formula has 31 powerhouse ingredients and helps promote a healthy gut microbiome.*
Working out may be the last thing on your mind while you're on vacation, but even just squeezing in a walk or some gentle movement is important. "Regular exercise can actually help strengthen your digestive tract," naturopathic doctor Jaime Schehr, N.D., R.D., previously told mbg. Not only will this get things moving, but Singh notes it's also a great way to see the sights of wherever you may be visiting. Win, win!
Vacation should be a time of rest and relaxation, not days spent worrying about when you're going to use the bathroom next. Thankfully, drinking plenty of water, eating a healthy and diverse diet, taking targeted supplements, and staying activ should help keep things running smoothly.* So go enjoy your vacation bloat- and worry-free!
Merrell Readman is the Associate Food & Health Editor at mindbodygreen. Readman is a Fordham University graduate with a degree in journalism and a minor in film and television. She has covered beauty, health, and well-being throughout her editorial career, and formerly worked at SheFinds. Her byline has also appeared in Women’s Health. In her current role, she writes and edits for the health, movement, and food sections of mindbodygreen. Readman currently lives in New York City.