Traveling With IBD

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a term used to describe two conditions: Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

Chron’s disease is characterized by prolonged inflammation that occurs in any part of the gastrointestinal tract (from the mouth to the anus). Ulcerative colitis causes chronic inflammation and sores to develop in the large intestine (colon and rectum).  Both conditions share similar symptoms which may include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Urgency to have a bowel movement
  • Blood in stool
  • Abdominal pain
  • Upset stomach
  • Reduced appetite
  • Gas
  • Bloating
  • Fatigue

Traveling for long distances can sometimes present challenges for those diagnosed with IBD. There may be concerns about the proximity and quality of restroom facilities, flare-ups, types of food available, medications, and access to quality healthcare. Here are a few tips to help you prepare for your trip and alleviate some of those worries:

  • Check each country’s requirements for traveling with medications
  • Bring enough medications
  • Pack extra clothing and supplies of toilet paper, sanitary wipes, hand sanitizer, ostomy bags, ointments, and other necessities in your carry-on luggage
  • Wear comfortable clothing
  • Learn about the types of food available on your flight and at your destination
  • Bring your own food if possible
  • Locate bathrooms before you need to go
  • Research healthcare providers and facilities at your destination
  • Get required travel vaccinations
  • Purchase travel insurance that covers your health condition
  • Practice food safety measures such as washing your hands, washing your fruits and vegetables, and ensuring that meats are cooked properly

Lastly, always consult with your doctor about ways you can manage IBD while you are away. Your doctor can provide recommendations to help you stay well on your trip. To schedule an appointment with a gastroenterologist at Flushing Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-670-5486.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.