travelers diarrhea

Did you come back from Spring Break with more than souvenirs and a tan?

Traveling to foreign places is fun, exciting and full of wonderful new cultural experiences.  Unfortunately, it can be easy to pack home unwanted virus, bacteria, or parasites that can wreak havoc on your digestive tract.

Common symptoms* most often include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal Bloating & Cramps
  • Malaise (weakness, illness or discomfort)
  • Rash
  • Fever

These side effects are your body’s efforts to throw out toxins before they lead to more serious complications.  Here are ways to support your body as it works to bring you back into balance:

  • Load up on Water with Electrolytes – Dehydration is the biggest complication with diarrhea. Increase intake of non-sugary fluids (WATER) to 80-100 ounces per day. Add a pinch of Himalayan or Celtic sea salt to your water for minerals.
  • Drink bone broth – Easy to digest and full of the proteins, collagen and minerals that you need to support your whole body and all of its digestive tissues. Try one of these homemade Bone Broth Recipes or try the brand Kettle & Fire sold at local natural foods stores.
  • Avoid sugars – Avoid sugars in all their forms. This includes fruits, flours, natural and artificial sweeteners. These are inflammatory, difficult in the digestive tract, and provide foods for the bacteria you’re trying to fight off.
  • Avoid dairy – Dairy is difficult to digest and lactose from dairy is actually another form of sugar.
  • Try psyllium husk – Psyllium husk slows down movements of the intestines and helps to absorb excess liquid to bulk up stool. Start with 1 TBS psyllium husk powder in 8oz of water and drink before bed. (take away from other medications)
  • Try activated charcoal – Toxins bind to charcoal and you can take it internally to bind to the toxins in your body, reducing symptoms of diarrhea. Look for it in capsule form as powders can have added sweeteners. Start with 1 capsule before bed and increase to 3, as needed. (take away from other medications)
  • Add a probiotic – This is like adding little warriors to your gut. These beneficial bacteria will help to crowd out the pathogenic strains. Look for a formula containing Saccharomyces boulardii (or S. boulardii). This strain is shelf-stable and so you can pack it with you as preventative maintenance for your next trip!

Feeling like you need further help?  Contact us to help you work through the healing process.

*IMPORTANT: If symptoms do not improve after 5 days or are accompanied by severe dehydration, high fever, persistent vomiting, blood in stool or black stool, or extreme weight loss seek medical attention immediately.


Disclaimer: Nutrition therapy is not intended as a diagnosis, treatment, prescription, or cure for any disease, or as a substitute for medical care. Jen Marshall and Stacy St Germain are not licensed medical providers. Nutrition plans are not intended as a substitution for traditional medical care, nor should be interpreted as medical advice, but instead is an adjunctive and supportive therapy.