Travel can be challenging if you've got IBS. Don't let the prospect of being out of your familiar surroundings and routines put you off going on holiday or having a mini-beak away from home.
With a bit of careful planning and preparation you can have a brilliant trip without your IBS spoiling it. If your break is on the relaxing side rather than a jam-packed trip with a huge itinerary it could even make your IBS symptoms better.
Here are 10 top travel tips:
1. Pick a suitable destination
Don't choose a holiday where tummy upsets and traveller's diarrhoea are easy to pick up.
"Make sure you don't exacerbate your symptoms by picking up a bug," says Wendy Green author of 'IBS: a self-help guide to feeling better'.
"Wash your hands often, carry a hand sanitising gel with you in case there are no, or inadequate hand washing facilities during your trip."
2. Find out a lot before you go
Ask about food at the hotel. Will there be a suitable selection? Can I request a gluten-free or wheat-free meal? Will I have a fridge in my room to keep my own snacks in? Are there shops nearby to buy items I may need?
"It may be an idea to go self-catering rather than to a hotel," says dietitian Liane Reeves, "and to take your staples with you."
Eating out in hotels and restaurants can be a minefield. Avoid large meals or foods that are fried or high in fat as they can make symptoms worse.
3. Don’t do too much
Reducing stress may be the best element to a good holiday so a multi-stop world tour may be a step too far.
"If you are nervous of going away it could trigger your IBS," says IBS expert Dr Nick Read, who's a former medical adviser to the IBS network. "But once you are away your IBS symptoms may well get better as you are relaxed and not stressed."
4. Check timings
Know the exact travel and journey transfer times and give yourself plenty of time to use the toilet if you need to so you avoid rushing and feeling anxious.
If you are travelling by plane make sure you leave enough time to park your car and get through security without worrying.
5. Eat lightly before travelling
"Avoid eating a big meal just before your trip. Choose plain food that is less likely to irritate your gut," says Wendy. "If you're flying and worried that the in-flight meal might trigger your symptoms, carry a suitable snack in your hand luggage."
Keep meals as regular as possible when you are there and watch your choices. It's best to eat food that you are familiar with rather than to start experimenting with the local street food or spicy cuisines.