Do you experience anxiety about symptoms when traveling with IBD? What are some coping strategies you've found helpful?
I have anxiety every single time I travel by air, train or vehicle. Which is crazy because I'm on a plane at least once a month. But the way I ease my mind is by doing a few things:
1. I over pack! I pack more outfits and underwear than there are days that I will be gone. Just in case of accidents.
2. I travel early in the morning, so that when I land I have time to rest before getting started on work or vacation.
3. I carry an extra set of comfortable clothes and underwear in my carry on.
4. I pack travel toilet paper & flushable wipes in my purse or travel bag.
5. I use the bathroom twice before I board the plane. It may not feel like I need to go, but with a Jpouch, something always comes out.
6. I drink tons of water and an ORS the day before travel so I'm hydrated.
7. I sometimes buy a day pass for a airline lounge for clean bathrooms, shower access and comfortable seating.
8. I will have gummies and white rice to thicken my stool to minimize leaks.
9. Download my favorite show/movie to my iPad before take off.
10. Create a trip specific playlist that will last the duration of the flight if I start to feel nauseous and close my eyes.
11. Pack an extra ORS packet, extra preggie pops and mints just in case of dizziness or nausea.
Hi Brooke! Thanks for weighing in with these helpful tips! They're great strategies to try to ease anxiety while traveling! 😀
-Pam (team member)
This is a great question. I used to be very worried about traveling with IBD, but since I do it fairly often now, I have gained some good tips:
1. If I'm flying, TSA Cares always can offer help or reduce concerns about things. If I don't have an assigned seat on the plane, I sometimes ask for disability boarding to ensure I can sit near the bathroom if necessary.
2. I always carry an extra pair of underwear in my purse or carry on bag, just in case.
3. Never leave home without flushable wipes, calmoseptine, zofran, and travel toilet paper.
4. Hydration is a must. I swear by drip drop, but also do a lot of G2 gatorade and smart water.
5. Lavender essential oil helps me stay calm, and I carry it with me everywhere.
6. The calm app - having available guided meditations is so helpful in always having something to turn to.
-Amanda, Team Member
Yes. I do get anxiety during travel. Particularly on long car rides. Those are the worst because there isn't always a restroom around. This can easily put an IBD sufferer in a tough situation.
I try to go to the bathroom before I leave the house even if I don't feel like it. I also try to eat nothing or next to nothing...just something really light if hungry...when I travel. This is because when I eat more I have more bathroom issues.
Hope this helps.
Matt (Team Member)
Traveling with IBD is very stressful. I can tell you that I have been through many different scenarios while traveling that can be downright embarrassing. I carry wipes and plastic shopping bags with me all the time in my car in case of a major catastrophe where I end up unable to make it to the bathroom. The urgency can and has left me unable to make it on many occasions so a shopping bag has been resorted to more than once. I know this may sound gross, but when you suffer from flare ups that render you incontinent you must sometimes think outside the box. If I know I will be away from a bathroom for a long time, I usually won’t eat anything until I get to a place where I readily have access to the bathroom. Sometimes I will also take a couple Imodium pills before a long trip to avoid accidents, but I may pay for doing that the next day since it can cause some irritation. I’ve had moderate to severe UC for almost 30 years. I think I’ve been through almost all possible scenarios when traveling. Sorry if this was TMI, but maybe someone will read this candid reply and feel like they are not alone.
I really appreciate your candid reply,