Go Ad-Free
logoThe People's Perspective on Medicine

Overcoming Constipation While Traveling

Kiwifruit or prune juice can help improve regularity. To beat constipation while traveling, why not try psyllium or sugarless gum?

Many people find that traveling disrupts their natural rhythm, from sleep to appetite to regularity. Approaches to dealing with jet lag can help with this, but some people still find that they are stopped up. What are the best ways to combat constipation while traveling?

How Can You Deal with Constipation While Traveling?

Q. I just returned from New Zealand a few days ago and I’m still not able to poop. I’m using stool softeners and laxatives as well as walking and drinking water. I’m getting worried about using over-the-counter drugs. They are starting to get things moving but not enough. Is this a common consequence of jet lag?

A. Many people find that traveling disrupts their digestive systems. You don’t have to travel internationally to suffer, though.

The experts usually blame this problem on changes in your normal schedule, although we suspect there isn’t much evidence for this hypothesis. The ordinary recommendations include consuming plenty of water (as you are), avoiding long sedentary periods (as you are) and consuming a fiber-rich diet with lots of fruits and vegetables (are you?).

There are many other approaches that can be effective, such as chewing sugarless gum or taking psyllium. Prunes, alone or as part of a bran/applesauce/prune juice mixture, can often help. One tasty option is eating two kiwifruit a day. Research shows kiwifruit are as effective as psyllium and a lot easier to swallow (Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology, Oct. 6, 2022)..

Trouble Taking Applesauce on the Road:

Q. I have been using an applesauce-fiber mixture I learned about from you. It works well to combat constipation.

Now I have to go abroad for two weeks. Do you have any suggestions on how to take this mixture with me? Constipation while traveling is a big problem, starting with the long flight.

A. Dehydration is a frequent result of air travel. Dehydrated people may be predisposed to constipation, so make sure you get lots of liquids. Sugarless gum can also help.

The mixture of applesauce, bran and prune juice you have found helpful needs refrigeration and will be too difficult to take with you. Instead, try something like psyllium cookies (Metamucil brand for example). Metamucil also prackages psyllium fiber in individual serving packets that are easy to carry with you. Magnesium supplements are also portable and should help you overcome constipation while traveling.

Learn More:

Our eGuide to Overcoming Digestive Disorders has details, along with our ten tips on avoiding constipation and a list of drugs that can make constipation worse.  It also includes the recipes for Power Pudding made of bran, applesauce and prune juice and dynamite pumpkin-bran muffins.

Rate this article
4.3- 51 ratings
About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies..
Tired of the ads on our website?

Now you can browse our website completely ad-free for just $5 / month. Stay up to date on breaking health news and support our work without the distraction of advertisements.

Browse our website ad-free
  • Eltorki M et al, "Kiwifruit and Kiwifruit Extracts for Treatment of Constipation: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis." (Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology, Oct. 6, 2022. DOI: 10.1155/2022/7596920
Join over 150,000 Subscribers at The People's Pharmacy

We're empowering you to make wise decisions about your own health, by providing you with essential health information about both medical and alternative treatment options.