Taking Trips Could Negatively Impact Your Gut Flora

  • Travel

  4 mins reading

When you decide to leave and unplug, to visit new places and undertake long & adventurous journeys, one of the biggest setbacks is to suffer from intestinal problems while on your trip.

Due to the sudden change in routines and eating habits, the natural balance in the body is often compromised. Our bodies are used to the same rhythms, thus, changing a routine too quickly does not allow enough time for bacterial flora to adapt. These changes don’t allow the bacterial flora the opportunity to adapt. Any unusual drinks and new foods that the body is unfamiliar with can further affect the already disrupted intestinal balance. In the case of more adventurous trips, it is sometimes the lack of sanitary standards, water or contaminated foods that threaten the balance of our intestinal flora.

Let’s take a look at the common gut discomforts that occur during a trip


If you happen to experience abdominal pains during your trip and have less frequent defecation upon arrival at your destination, or if your stools are noticeably hard, you may be experiencing constipation.

Occasional diarrhea

Occasional diarrhea is characterised by the evacuation of faeces in liquid form 2 or 3 times within 24 hours. Sometimes it is accompanied by severe fatigue, and in severe cases it also manifests itself with mild or high fever. It usually appears 2-3 days into a trip and lasts up to 5 days.


Bellyaches is a very common complaint when taking a trip. The main causes include inadequate nutrition and anxiety problems. When taking a trip, there is no shortage of anxiety and unfamiliar foods. A new routine, imposed by a long journey, will alter the timing and ritual of digestion, which can cause bellyaches. Bellyaches also occurs in association with trips. Always seek the help of a doctor or HCP.

How to prevent intestinal problems when going on a trip?

The intestinal flora is made up of “good” bacteria, but also of potentially harmful bacteria, both of which are essential for preserving the health and functions of the gut. Under normal conditions there is a perfect balance between these types of bacteria, but some situations can affect this harmony, favouring the establishment and proliferation of pathogenic bacteria and thus causing intestinal discomforts. To help prevent the onset of gut discomfort during your trip, it’s helpful to follow a few simple rules:

Make a point of being relaxed and try not to get overwhelmed with stress and angst.

Don’t alter your eating habits too drastically. It’s good to try to maintain your homely habits and set aside the temptation to try new foods and drinks, at least for a few days. Opt for foods such as vegetables, grains, fruits, nuts and natural yogurts.

Avoid eating raw or naturally fermented foods such as potatoes, broccoli, cabbage and all fizzy drinks that can increase gas production in the stomach.

Avoid bulk-made drinks (always opt for sealed bottled where possible) and hydrate yourself with liquids that restore the mineral salts lost during your trip.

Avoid putting ice in your drinks, as this can be a prime location for water-born contaminants.

Make time for physical activities throughout your trip, even if just a brisk walk each morning.

Probiotics containing: Bifidobacteria, Bacillus clausii, Lactobacilli

It’s often useful, with the recommendation of a doctor, to take probiotics that protect the intestinal flora and can help reduce the risk of gut discomfort. Treatment should generally begin a few days before the trip and continue for the duration of your stay. Discuss your prevention plan with your health care provider prior to embarking on your journey.

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