I’m going to talk about something really taboo today, are you ready?
Let’s talk about potty problems… YUP I’m talking all things travelers diarrhea, upset stomachs, weird street food messing with us and waking up in the middle of the night to run to the bathroom and yank. Woah...too far? Good. Because someone’s gotta talk about it.
I think it’s safe to say, at some point in our lives we’ve all experienced at least one of these unpleasant experiences. Whether we’re traveling or not. But truly, when these things happen when you’re in a foreign country you can feel REALLY helpless. Like, you can’t just call your friend to run to the Target down the street to snag you some Pepto Bismol when you’re on safari in India, can you? NOPE.
But what you can do is be prepared.
Now before we get started, I feel as if I should establish something. I know it might surprise you, spoiler alert, I’m not a doctor. But what I am is someone who’s traveled to MANY countries, some pretty remote, and some with questionable food sanitation standards. And I’m also someone who’s experienced the 3 a.m. sprint to make it to the bathroom just in time to do my business.
My go-to rule when traveling: expect the unexpected. When you’re prepared, you’re good to go.
That being said, here are my tried and true medicines/homeopathic/antibiotics I bring with me on EVERY trip.
GUYS, this is not a drill. If there were such a thing as a magic pill, Acidil would be it. All of my close friends know how clutch this homeopathic pill is because it’s saved us time and time again from upset stomachs through the years.
Basically, Acidil relieves heartburn, acid indigestion, bloating or upset stomach. It’s honestly a miracle. My mom and I discovered this product when I was in middle school because I used to get stomach aches ALL THE TIME. So this is something I’ve been using for almost 14 years.
We never travel without it. You can thank me later.
You can find these at your local Whole Foods or on Amazon.
On my recent trip to Central America, my mom and I both had some tummy issues. I’m talking multiple trips to the bathroom in a day if you catch my drift. Once I got back home I headed straight to my natural health store, praying to find a female clerk who I could talk to about our diarrhea issues. I mean imagine talking to a guy about that. Might be as mortifying as writing about it on the internet (LOL).
ANYWAYSSSSSS, the super nice lady suggested I try activated charcoal pills. She said they’re great for binding and should stop the problem once symptoms occur.
The reason for this is activated charcoal can be used as an emergency treatment for overdoses and poisonings because it absorbs the toxins. In that same vein, the charcoal works to trap bacteria that can cause diarrhea in its porous textured surface.
PS I recently brought these on my trip to India and both Linda and I used them at least twice and they worked like MAGIC.
The name kinda sounds scary right? I know. But I promise it’s not. In fact, this is my go-to remedy for two things: hangovers and overindulgence.
We’ve all been there one way or another. We ate too much Naan bread and want to vom or we took too many tequila shots in Cabo and vom the next morning. So no matter which camp you fall under, Nux Vomica will be your new BFF.
The main use of this homeopathic pill is to fight heartburn or drowsiness due to excessive eating or drinking.
I try to take this when I know I’m about to have a big meal or (if I remember) before I go to bed after a night of drinking.
You can find this at your local Whole Foods, health food store or on Amazon
I first discovered this product in a Coachella Swag bag LOL. I mean, if you want to talk about dehydration, all you need to say is Coachella.
These are little electrolyte powder mixes that you can add to your water for rapid hydration. When you get traveler’s diarrhea you’re losing a lot of fluids and in order to get better you need to replace them. This is something that will help you do that.
I pop a few of these into my travel med case and I know I’m good to go just in case.
Let’s say you’re not into homeopathic meds like me and Linda (your loss lol jk...but seriously) then I highly suggest Pepto Bismol. As the ad says Nausea, Heartburn, Indigestion, Upset stomach, Diarrhea, YAY PEPTO BISMOL! (is there anyone out there that doesn’t know that ad??)
Anyways, this is the catch at for any of those symptoms. I also travel with a little case of this just in case I run out of Acidil.
Used to treat a variety of bacterial infections
For as long as I can remember my mom has been traveling with Cipro. It’s an antibiotic that is used to treat a variety of bacterial infections. She carries it just in case she gets REALLY sick and the Acidil, activated charcoal and Nux Vomica don’t do the trick.
I’ve always thought this was overkill until I got sick the first time I was in India. It was this weird 24-hour flu thing that had me horizontal with chills ALL DAY. I was SO happy she had that packed because nothing else was working and we really wanted to avoid the hassle of calling a doctor to the hotel or going to a hospital.
Before big trips, we always check in with our doctor for a prescription if we’re running low. And this might be something you want to think about doing just to have on hand while you travel. You may never use it but it’s good to have just in case.
I will preface this by saying some people might not be okay with self-medicating. And that’s totally okay. If you’re on the fence, check with your doctor to get their opinion.
GOOD RULES OF THUMB TO LIVE BY TO AVOID TRAVELER’S TUMMY:
Watch what you eat
This might seem obvious but street food is a sure fire way to feel a rumble in your tum tum. That being said, I don’t think you should totally write it off. But you should proceed with caution and know that something might not agree with you. And if you’re cool with running that risk, by all means, eat the mystery meat on a stick!
I try to stick to reputable restaurants or hotel food when I’m in countries where the food might be risky. I know it’s not very Anthony Bourdain of me but I know I’m prone to stomach problems. And if it’s a choice between being adventurous and trying the street food or knowing that I’ll be feeling well enough to explore said country for the next few days, I choose to be vertical. But that’s just me!
Close your mouth in the shower
I think we all learned from Charlotte in Sex and the City why it’s not a good idea to open your mouth in the shower...LOL.
Seems like an odd thing to remember to do but in many developing countries tap water can contain harmful bacteria you don’t want to be ingesting. So zip the lip while your taking your showers.
Also, when you’re brushing your teeth, sometimes I use bottled water to wet and rinse my toothbrush. If you’re in a nice hotel, you’ll know if you’re supposed to do this because they will often leave water bottles right next to the sink to remind you.
Drink lots of (bottled) H20
If you do get traveler’s diarrhea, aside from taking the pills I’ve recommended, you should drink TONS of water. It’s important to replace the fluids you’ve lost. And if you’re really dehydrated try those liquid IV packets I talked about.
So friends, I think I’ve reached the allotted amount of times I could say diarrhea in a blog post before my blog is taken off the internet so I’m gonna stop myself here.
But in all seriousness, I really wanted to write this post for a while because I know Linda and I are not the only ones who have experienced these things while traveling. And if this post saves just one of you from the panic of sprinting to the bathroom at 3 a.m. then I’ve done my job.