Why Does Your Poop Get Weird When You Go On Vacation?

You’ve been planning your trip to a beautiful island with clear blue water and plenty of palm trees and lots of tropical cocktails. It’s absolutely perfect in every single way… except for one. Your digestive system isn’t all that happy and you’re not sure what’s up. You don’t want to spend half the trip on the toilet, obviously. So, why does your poop get weird when you’re on vacation and is there anything you can do about it?

There are a multitude of different reason your stomach feels off when you travel. Whether you get diarrhea, feel constipated, experience nausea, or just feel a bit weird, there are a number of things that contribute to digestive distress. In fact, if you’re traveling somewhere far away, the long-haul flight itself could start you off on the wrong foot. That’s because sitting for long periods of time slows down digestion and could lead to gas, bloating, and pain, among other unpleasant side effects.

If you’re in a different time zone, jet leg could also cause your poop schedule to get weird. That’s because if you’re used to waking up and using the toilet but the time in your new location is 8 hours before or after, your body won’t know what it’s supposed to be doing and when. Add in not getting enough sleep and you’re asking for trouble.

Another more obvious reason your poop gets weird on vacation is that you’re likely eating different foods, and more of them. Adding new ingredients into your diet that your body isn’t used to can irritate your gut. So can stress, which often accompanies travel, no matter how excited we are about it.

So, what can you do about it?

While you may not be able to completely mitigate the digestive effects of travel, there are a few things you can do to try and help yourself. Staying hydrated is always numero uno, especially if you’re experiencing diarrhea. You also want to make sure you’re adding fiber into your diet, which may mainly consist of junk food depending on where you are and what you choose off the menu.

Finally, make sure you move your body as much as possible. Walk the aisle of the plane or train when traveling and do plenty of walking as well to keep things moving.

Oh, and don’t forget to pack the Imodium and/or Ex-Lax.

[H/T PopSci]

Jennifer Still is a writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience. The managing editor of Bolde, she has bylines in Vanity Fair, Business Insider, The New York Times, Glamour, Bon Appetit, and many more. You can follow her on Twitter @jenniferlstill