Question: I plan to travel to a foreign country. I am afraid of getting constipated or getting “the trots.” I can’t live in the bathroom. Do you have any suggestions?
Mimi: Usually if we drink enough water and eat enough fiber in whole grains, fruits, veggies, beans, and nuts, we don’t have problems with constipation. Stay away from laxatives. The only over-the-counter product that I would recommend is psyillium. The brand that is easiest to take is PerDiem. Swallow a spoon full with a glass of water chaser. This will often regulate your system to prevent both constipation and diarrhea.
After a spell of diarrhea, figure out why it happened. If you ate something bad, thank your body for knowing to get rid of poison. This and vomiting are the body’s way of purging poisons. When traveling, you may pick up a bug and get Montezuma’s revenge. Let it run its course. Let your body purge. The diarrhea may be accompanied with vomiting.
Stay hydrated. Drink water. Ginger tea or Ginger Ale may help quiet your gurgling tummy. Soda crackers may help. If you feel weak, adding a little sugar and a bit of salt to your tea will help. Your body will be low on electrolytes.
Do not run for the Pepto or Lomotil immediately. Let your body get rid of the bad stuff.
If the problem continues for over a day, try an over-the-counter remedy like Pepto, Keopectate, or Imodium. Pepto coats the stomach to make it feel better and has been proven very effective in quieting stomach problems. Keopectate is kind of like concrete and just hardens up stuff so it doesn’t flow out so readily. Imodium slows down the peristaltic action of the gut. Continue to focus on staying hydrated.
Beyond three days, you will want to see a doctor to be tested to see if you have something more than just a bug, too much fiber, or dehydration.
After a bout of diarrhea or vomiting, the good guys in your gut have been washed out. So replenish them by taking Pro-biotics. Tablets are available in the drug store, health food store, and Trader Joe’s. The refrigerated type may have more potent strains than the dry type. I take dry, non-refrigerated tablets because I carry them when I travel. Cultured yogurt may be a good source. Read the label to make sure that the culture is living. Kefir and cultured buttermilk are usually good sources also for probiotics to rebuild the friendly flora.
Nobody wants to spend his vacation in the loo. With these tips, you will feel like climbing the Great Wall of China or the Eiffel Tower soon
Mimi Barre is the owner of International Day Spa, 325 Cajon St., Redlands.
Send your skin care questions to her at MimiB@INTLdayspa.com. She and her estheticians are available for personal consultations. (909) 793-9080. Past columns of Ask Mimi are on the web at www.INTERNATIONALdayspa.com.