How To Deal With Travel Constipation If You're Heading Home For The Holidays
While visiting family over the holidays is wonderful, traveling home can come with some serious downsides—including irregularity. The change in routine, diet, and environment can add extra stress to your bowels and cause a bit of a backup.
If you experience symptoms of constipation when you travel (or at all), you're far from alone (even if it isn't a typical topic of conversation among your friends and family).
Symptoms of constipation (which include fewer than three bowel movements a week, incomplete sensation of evacuation, increased stool hardness, abdominal distention, and pain) impact 16% of adults and 33% of adults over 60, according to the American Gastroenterological Association.
How to promote regularity during the holiday season.
Luckily, there are a few things you can do to promote regularity while you're home for the holidays. For starters, make time for daily movement (even just a short walk or dance party with family members) and drink plenty of water. You should also try to include plenty of fiber-rich foods in your diet each day (in between delicious cookies and other celebratory treats, of course).
If you want an easy way to up your daily fiber intake without too much preparation or thought, consider packing a quality fiber supplement in your suitcase this year. (For expert recommendations on what to look for in a fiber supplement, check out our guide here.)
How a fiber supplement can help with constipation.
A 2020 Journal of Chiropractic Medicine narrative review of 18 meta-analyses found that increasing fiber intake can, in fact, reduce constipation symptoms1 by improving stool consistency and frequency.
Both soluble and insoluble fiber are critical for regularity: Due to their high water-holding capacity, soluble fibers help soften poop, while insoluble fiber adds "bulk" to stool and promotes gut motility (i.e., it "gets things moving"). In addition to keeping your bowel movements in check, dietary fiber also supports gut health, digestion, blood sugar balance, and a number of other incredible benefits that might come in handy during the holiday season.
If you're someone that goes days without going when their normal routine is disrupted, packing a fiber supplement with both soluble and insoluble fiber is a fantastic travel hack. Simply mix a scoop of fiber powder into your beverage of choice, sit back, and enjoy your holiday vacation!
That said, not all fiber supplements are created equal. If you want specific recommendations on which product to try, check out mindbodygreen's top picks for best fiber supplements here.
Morgan Chamberlain is a supplement editor at mindbodygreen. She graduated from Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Science degree in magazine journalism and a minor in nutrition. Chamberlain believes in taking small steps to improve your well-being—whether that means eating more plant-based foods, checking in with a therapist weekly, or spending quality time with your closest friends. When she isn’t typing away furiously at her keyboard, you can find her cooking in the kitchen, hanging outside, or doing a vinyasa flow.