Keep your tummy happy on holiday

If you’re heading off on your summer holidays soon, the last thing you need is a health problem to spoil it. But if a survey commissioned by constipation treatment Dulcolax is anything to go by, more than half of women who’ve been on holiday have had their time away affected by tummy problems such as diarrhoea, constipation and feeling bloated or bunged up.

“It’s awful when you become unwell on holiday or something happens to spoil it – you don’t want anything to get in the way of your precious time off,” says nutritionist and bowel health expert Kate Arnold.

“Unfortunately, digestive problems like constipation or diarrhoea are common due to the change in your routine. Spending more time sitting in a car, or on a plane or by the pool and eating different foods at odd times can cause problems and really affect how you feel.”

There are, however, ways to prevent these problems, says Kate. “A last minute health kick before a holiday can produce short-term results, but making extreme changes fast can be bad for your health,” she explains.

“To make sure you feel comfortable and confident during your break, optimising your gut health is the best most effective way to bring long-term benefits. Having a strong, healthy bowel means you won’t feel bloated or sluggish, so you’re free to focus on your plans. All it takes are some simple changes like making sure you drink plenty of water. Reducing heavily processed, salty and sugary food can also help keep bowels regular and reduce bloating.”

Before you travel, try Kate’s pre-holiday gut detox to make sure your digestive system is in good shape:

Banish body clock blues The gut is a creature of habit and loves routine, so if you’re crossing time zones it’s likely your bowel will be disrupted. Make gradual adjustments to your routine in the weeks before your holiday by going to bed a few hours earlier or later to help your body adjust to the new time zone slowly.

Water is key Dry airplane air and hot, sweat-inducing destinations can make you constipated and bloated. Making sure you’re properly hydrated in the days before can help counteract this and keep your digestive system working at its best.

Move it It’s really important to get in even gentle exercise while you’re away to keep everything moving, so you might want to start with a short walk or by practising some simple yoga positions that you can do in your hotel room. Twisting moves might be particularly helpful for stimulating the bowels.

Fabulous fibre High-fibre foods are vital to keep things moving through our guts. Make sure you’re eating fresh fruit, green leafy vegetables and whole grains every day before you go away so that your bowels aren’t bunged up.

What not to do Certain foods and drinks can be particularly problematic for our guts so it’s best to avoid or reduce your intake before the extra strain that holidays can cause. Sugary foods may clog up your digestion and alcohol can be dehydrating.

For more tips to help you manage tummy problems on holiday, visit

Your local Careway pharmacist can also give you advice about staying healthy while you’re away, and recommend over-the-counter remedies you may want to take with you – including medicines to soothe digestive upsets.

Find your nearest Careway pharmacy by using our Pharmacy Finder.