Having irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is no fun. You might feel like you’re limited in where you can go and what you can do, especially in the summertime. Heat and diarrhea don’t mix, but you don’t need to feel confined to your home during the warmer months just because you’re worried about a flare-up. You should feel free to travel where you want, and once you identify what causes your issues, you won’t feel limited by your condition anymore.
What Should I Look Out for With IBS?
IBS affects up to 15% of adults in the United States. You aren’t alone or the only traveler who has to navigate the world around their potential IBS flare-ups. The most severe symptoms are abdominal cramps that can limit your activity. In the summertime, you want to be outside, taking in all the sights of your favorite destinations. To enjoy your travels to their fullest, you must watch out for symptoms and triggers of your IBS.
Alongside the pain, you may experience bloating or less or more frequent bathroom trips. Searching for a restroom while you’re busy sightseeing can be a real pain, so you want to avoid triggers as much as possible. For many people, certain foods can mess up an entire day.
Stress may not cause IBS, but it can worsen your symptoms over time. While on your travels, try to forget about responsibilities that you don’t need to deal with right now.
Some people may notice that their IBS worsens when it’s warm outside. There are several reasons why heat can irritate your stomach. While you can watch what you eat and manage your stress, you can’t exactly change the weather.
Why Does Hot Weather Upset My Stomach?
You might wonder, “Why is my IBS worse in the hot weather?” You’re not alone. Many people see IBS flare-ups in the summertime when it’s hot outside. Unfortunately, you won’t find a perfect answer for these heat-triggered IBS symptoms other than staying home—which is no fun at all. Instead, you must figure out how the heat triggers you and work to mitigate it.
Dehydration can affect IBS. You’re probably sweating if you’re outside in the heat, making you feel dehydrated. Because there won’t be enough water in your digestive system, you might experience extra bloating or gas. People also tend to move less when it’s hot outside, which can affect how frequently they use the bathroom. People who move less usually have fewer bowel movements—meaning more IBS symptoms.
Your body may also not be used to the climate. Hot weather might shock your body if you live in a cooler environment. If you plan to spend time outside, prepare for some breaks inside or in the shade. You may not have all the time in the world, but you should try to ease your body into the new weather as much as possible.
Try to pinpoint what you might be missing when in the heat. You may be able to make some changes for the better, such as drinking more water. Even altering something small can potentially cause a massive difference in the amount and severity of your IBS flare-ups.
How to Deal With IBS in the Heat
Luckily, you don’t always have to deal with heat and diarrhea in the summer. You can choose a few things to change about your life to hopefully alleviate some of your symptoms, and not just in the warmer months. One easy way is to stay out of the heat and choose indoor activities and places to explore on the hottest days of your travels.
One way to deal with your IBS is to watch what you eat. You may eliminate certain foods from your diet to see if they trigger your symptoms, then add them back in to determine if there’s any difference without them. Try eating food that keeps you cool in the summertime, like cucumbers and salads, to help you stay refreshed.
Drink plenty of water when you’re in the heat. If you can’t, try to consume water in the form of fruits and vegetables. Your digestive system should function properly if it has enough water to work with in the heat.
Stay on the move. The more you move around, the more likely your digestive system will work correctly. You’ll be able to pass a bowel movement as usual without dealing with the pain or bloating typically associated with IBS. Bring portable fans with you, especially if you’re more sensitive to heat. Staying active is a great way to mitigate the effects of IBS.
Don’t Let IBS Slow You Down
Your body shouldn’t be in control of you. You have IBS, but you can still enjoy every minute of your travels. On particularly hot days, try to limit your movement to indoor activities, like exploring a museum. Heat and diarrhea shouldn’t go hand-in-hand, so limit the foods that trigger you.
Consult your doctor and do what you can so you know what tactics to embrace on your travels. Then, you won’t be held back anymore.